How heart valves become calcified in aortic stenosis

Role of calcification in the pathogenesis of aortic stenosis

David Newby (lead researcher)

Edinburgh, University of

Start date: 01 March 2016 (Duration 2 years, 5 months)

Supervised by BHF Professor David Newby, this Clinical Research Training Fellow is working out if a drug used to treat osteoporosis can also treat aortic stenosis.

Blood leaves the heart through a large artery called the aorta and flows through the aortic valve before reaching the body. Aortic stenosis is a common condition where the aortic valve progressively narrows over several years. It happens because calcium forms on the valve stopping it from opening or closing properly. Often the narrowing worsens over time as more calcium develops, putting strain on the heart and leading to chest pain, breathlessness and even death. Currently, doctors replace the aortic valve when the disease becomes severe, but this procedure is not suitable for everyone.

Professor Newby’s team has pioneered an imaging technique called 18F-fluoride positron emission tomography to study aortic stenosis, which confirms that calcification has a key role in driving deterioration of the valve.

In this project, the fellow will oversee a BHF-funded clinical trial called SALTIRE 2, which is investigating if osteoporosis drugs that modify calcium metabolism can slow aortic stenosis progression. They will also study heart valve biology and investigate how valves become calcified.

This research will improve our understanding of aortic stenosis and may reveal a new way to prevent or treat the condition that avoids the need for surgery.

Project details

Grant amount £169,016
Grant type Fellowship
Application type Clinical Research Training Fellowship
Start Date 01 March 2016
Duration 2 years, 5 months
Reference FS/16/19/31982
Status In progress

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