5 ways we helped further science in 2015
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) funds around 1000 research projects at any one time. Here are 5 inspiring projects with the potential to make real difference to patients, that we’ve showcased in the past year.
1. Mending broken hearts with stem cells
When someone suffers a heart attack, some of the heart’s cells are starved of blood and die.
New research has led scientists to believe stem cells could in the future be used to repair heart attack damage.
2. Reducing future issues after having a stent
Every year, thousands of people in the UK receive one or more stents, a small mesh tube inserted to improve blood flow through narrowed segments of coronary arteries.
New research from Sheffield University has found that carbon monoxide-releasing molecules (CORMS) could help to prevent the narrowing, or restenosis, it can cause.
3. Making research a reality
The BHF helped fund a new multimillion-pound Translational Biomedical Research Centre (TBRC) near Bristol. Its role is to get research out of the laboratory, so it can be used for new treatments as fast as possible.
Among other things, the centre is exploring the use of stem cells derived from the patient’s bone marrow that could be used to repair hearts after a heart attack.
4. 3D heart mapping
Dr Danielle Paul studies heart muscle under the microscope using 3D ‘molecular movies’ to examine how heart function changes when it is diseased.
The 3D maps are then made available to any researcher for their own research.
5. Sequencing 100,000 human genomes
Sequencing the whole genome of people with a rare disease could help us identify variants in the genetic code that cause diseases.
The genome contains about 3.3 billion ‘letters’, and in every 300 or so there’s a change that makes us more susceptible to cardiovascular disease.
Current research could allow us to track this rare variant through generations, and help save lives.