WALTHAM, Mass., Aug. 30, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BG Medicine, Inc. (Nasdaq:BGMD), a company focused on the development and commercialization of novel cardiovascular diagnostics, announced today that the study, "Galectin-3, a Marker of Cardiac Fibrosis, Predicts Incident Heart Failure in the Community," was published online in the current issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology 1 (JACC). The study, conducted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's (NHLBI) Framingham Heart Study, was designed to determine whether elevated levels of galectin-3 in the population at large identify those who are at increased risk for the development of heart failure. Galectin-3 levels were measured in blood specimens collected from 1996-1998 as part of a routine examination of 3,353 participants enrolled in the NHLBI-supported Framingham Offspring Cohort. The study demonstrated that men and women with baseline blood levels of galectin-3 in the highest quartile had heart failure incidence rates that were more than twice as high as those of all other study participants, over a ten year follow-up period. "Our research at Framingham represents the first U.S.- based large-scale study to examine whether elevated levels of galectin-3 in the population at large can identify people who may be at risk for development of heart failure," said Daniel Levy, M.D., Director, Framingham Heart Study, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. "Galectin-3 is associated with cardiac fibrosis, which plays an important role in the development of heart failure, so it may be useful in identifying patients at high risk for heart failure prior to the onset of symptoms and could point the way to earlier prevention and treatment strategies." "The results published in JACC emphasize the significance of being able to detect factors that impact the identification and progression of heart failure, as nearly one in six people in the general adult population may have elevated levels of galectin-3 and be at risk," said Eric Bouvier, President and CEO of BG Medicine. "As part of our corporate strategy to develop and commercialize cardiovascular diagnostics that address significant medical needs, we filed a 510(k) for an expanded indication for the BGM Galectin-3 ® test with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May 2012, and have obtained CE Mark in Europe. Subject to FDA clearance, the new application would expand the indicated use of our galectin-3 test to the general adult population to identify those with elevated levels of galectin-3, which is associated with an increased risk for the development of new-onset heart failure." About Galectin-3 and Heart Failure Galectin-3 is a unique carbohydrate-binding lectin, or protein, that binds to carbohydrates called beta-galactosides. Galectin-3 has been implicated in a variety of biological processes important in the development and progression of heart failure, and is believed to be a primary mediator of progressive cardiac fibrosis (abnormal thickening and stiffening of the heart muscle) and adverse remodeling (changes in the structure of the heart). Heart failure affects an estimated 5.8 million Americans, with approximately 670,000 new cases occurring each year. The direct and indirect cost of heart failure in the United States for 2010 is estimated to be $39.2 billion.