Major new research programme to halt relentless rise in
UK heart failure
Regenerative medicine could make recovery as simple as
getting over a broken leg.
The burden of debilitating heart failure has risen relentlessly since the
Sixties, inspiring our major new research
programme to find a cure.
The condition, which is often caused by damage
to the heart during a heart attack,
means the heart can no longer pump properly. It is one of the UK’s
leading causes of disability, with some patients
housebound and fighting for breath, making getting out of bed or
eating a meal incredibly difficult.
When we were founded in 1961, an
estimated 100,000 people in the UK had heart failure. But an ageing
population and the fact that more people now survive heart attacks
mean more than 750,000 people now live with the
condition and even higher numbers are expected in
We need to spend £50million to make this a reality and currently the resources and investment we need are simply not available.
combat this, we have today unveiled a major new
programme of research in regenerative medicine
to find a
cure. The Mending Broken Hearts project
involve stem cell research
to work out how to repair or
replace damaged heart muscle to begin to literally ‘mend
in as little as ten years time.
Part of the inspiration for the research
programme is that regeneration already occurs in nature. Some
animals, such as zebrafish, can regrow portions of their
own hearts. Research may be able to make this possible in
Our medical director Professor Peter Weissberg said: “Since the BHF’s
inception 50 years ago, we’ve made great strides in medical research to better diagnose and treat
people with all kinds of heart problems. But the biggest issue that
still eludes us is how to help people once their heart has been
damaged by a heart attack.
“Scientifically, mending human hearts
is an achievable goal and we really could
make recovering from a heart attack as simple as getting over a
broken leg. But we need to spend £50 million to
make this a reality, and currently the resources and investment we
need are simply not available.”
Joanne Ward, 36, from Sheffield, has heart
failure after suffering a heart attack shortly after giving birth
to her second son, Tyler, five years ago.
She said: “Living with heart failure means
everything from doing the washing to playing silly games with my
sons requires a huge amount of effort, and sometimes they’re just
too hard to do.
“Until I got ill, I never realised heart
muscle couldn’t repair itself, I thought it was just like any other
muscle that healed over time. The fact my heart won’t heal can be
overwhelming but I refuse to let heart failure define me. A
research breakthrough could make a massive difference to people
like me, so there is always hope.”
To fund the programme, we are encouraging
people to support our Mending Broken Hearts Appeal. The
five-year fundraising campaign is our most
ambitious to date, and coincides with our 50th
A high profile integrated marketing campaign
encouraging people to support our appeal
kicks off today, inspired by Joanne
Ward’s experience. The materials feature a woman with heart
failure as she finds hope by watching zebrafish in an aquarium.
To find out how you can support our Mending
Broken Hearts Appeal, call 0300 333 0333 or
visit our MBH pages and
order an appeal