SAVE BC Launched

Save BC

SAVE BC launched to study BC families with early onset heart disease

HLI researchers launch study to identify risk factors and develop new approaches for diagnosis and treatment of families affected by early-onset atherosclerotic heart disease.


Vancouver, B.C., December 10, 2015 – Dr. Liam Brunham, Principal Investigator at the UBC Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI) located at St. Paul’s Hospital and Dr. Simon Pimstone, Associate Principal Investigator at the HLI, announced today the launch of a study aimed at reducing the burden of heart disease in families affected by early-onset atherosclerotic heart disease.

The study, called SAVE BC (Study to Avoid cardioVascular Events in BC) is a first-of-its kind research program in BC and Canada, with medical specialists identifying, managing and providing long term follow-up to individuals with early and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in BC, and their first degree relatives and spouses who are known to be at increased risk. The program will initiate simultaneously at St. Paul’s and Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, with plans to expand throughout BC over the next 3-5 years.

 “Approximately 1,000 very young men and women have heart attacks in BC each year, and SAVE BC has the potential to significantly improve the health outcomes of patients with early atherosclerotic heart disease,” said Dr. Simon Pimstone, Clinical Associate Professor, UBC Department of Medicine, Associate Investigator at the HLI and Physician at the UBC Hospital Cardiology Clinic. “We are very excited about the opportunity and what the project represents for British Columbians with early onset diseases of the heart and blood vessels, and their family members who may also be at risk.

VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation and St. Paul’s Foundation are each committing $150,000 in support of the SAVE BC research program. This funding is in addition to funds committed by industry partners Amgen Inc., Merck & Co., Inc., Sanofi-Aventis Canada Inc., the Rx&D Health Research Foundation as well as the Heart & Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon.

“We are thrilled with the level of support from both St Paul’s Foundation and VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, as well as our other partners and sponsors,” said Dr. Liam Brunham, physician in the St. Paul’s Hospital Healthy Heart Program, scientist at the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation and Assistant Professor in the UBC Department of Medicine. “This commitment is instrumental to the successful implementation and roll-out of SAVE BC to deliver substantial medical innovations.”

Given that atherosclerotic heart disease remains such a significant societal and cost burden, research conducted within SAVE BC aims to identify novel cardiovascular disease risk factors in families and potentially develop new and cost-effective approaches to better diagnose and treat this group of high-risk individuals.

The project has great potential for national and international partnership. Both VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation and St. Paul’s Foundation will continue to work with the SAVE BC team to raise additional funds for this very unique and important public health program.

About the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation

The Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI) is a UBC senate approved research centre located at St. Paul’s Hospital and also supported by Providence Health care and Providence Health Care Research Institute. The HLI is home to world-class cardiovascular, pulmonary and critical care research, conducted by its 30 principal investigators and over 200 researchers. The HLI’s mission is to discover and translate solutions for heart, lung, blood vessel and critical care diseases while attracting and supporting the best researchers. For more information please visit To donate to our research please visit

About St. Paul’s Foundation

St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation raises funds to support inspired care, research, and teaching at St. Paul’s Hospital, a treasured provincial health resource for all British Columbians. Our hospital specializes in the care of people with heart and lung disease, HIV/AIDS, mental illness, renal disease and people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. We integrate the best clinical care with real-world research and education, and provided care to more than 400,000 patients from across BC last year. For more information, or to donate, visit

About VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation

VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation partners with donors to provide the funds essential to ensuring that our hospitals and health care teams can deliver BC’s best, most specialized care for adults. We raise funds for VGH, UBC Hospital, GF Strong Rehab Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and Vancouver Community Health Services.


There are few illnesses or injuries our medical teams cannot treat, no matter how complex or rare. VGH is the province’s only accredited Level 1 trauma centre; together with UBC Hospital and GF Strong Rehab Centre, this is the province’s main referral centre.  Doctors at the forefront of their specialties care for patients, discover new treatments through internationally acclaimed research, and educate the next wave of health care superstars.  The Division of Cardiology at VGH & UBC Hospital consists of 29 specialists and is home to the only Women’s Heart Health Clinic in Western Canada, Sports Cardiology BC, and provincial programs in cardiac oncology and pulmonary hypertension. The Foundation works hard to ensure excellent care is here when British Columbians need it.