One Brave Idea five years later

Five years ago, a team in Boston set out to design a different way of thinking about research.

Calum MacRae, MD, PhD

Calum MacRae, MD, PhD, vice chair for scientific innovation and former chief of cardiology in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, was awarded an $85 million dollar prize through One Brave Idea and started work in 2017. At Scientific Sessions, Dr. MacRae presented “One Brave Idea – Redefining Coronary Heart Disease at the Edge of Wellness” to share what his team has achieved in five years and where it’s going.

Dr. MacRae said the learning cycle in biomedicine has been static. He wanted to come up with new ways to integrate research and clinical care. He and his team designed new software to not only help identify 130 new pathways for coronary heart disease development, but also how to handle data. Dr. Shinici Goto, of Keio University School of Medicine, showed how the One Brave Idea team used technology in many ways, including converting doctors’ medical notes into structured data for easy access and analysis.

“One Brave Idea is about more precise multidimensional measurement of your cardiac and metabolic health and wellness so that we can identify the initial phases of disease earlier,” Dr. MacRae told AHA News. The One Brave Idea team also developed ways to move beyond the patient to engage the patient’s entire family to gather genetic data. That data helped further prove genetic triggers for heart disease.

One Brave Idea was about finding a new way to approach cardiovascular research. Dr. MacRae told the crowd at Scientific Sessions that he considers the program a success, and doing things differently can sometimes lead you in a direction you didn’t expect.