UK scientists get a £2.2m boost for heart research

25 July 2014        


As part of our fight for every heartbeat campaign, we’re awarding more than £2.2m in grants to fund vital research into inherited heart conditions. Researchers across the country will use the money to investigate these potentially deadly disorders, which we estimate affect over half a million people in the UK.

Funding has been awarded to researchers in seven top UK Universities, including Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Imperial College London, University of Cambridge, University of Kent, University of Leeds, University of Manchester and the University of Oxford.

Professor Morrell tackles serious lung condition

One of the researchers we fund is BHF Professor Nick Morrell from the University of Cambridge, who has been awarded more than £200,000. Professor Morrell will focus on pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) – a devastating condition that affects around 3,200 in the UK and is often fatal.

People with the condition suffer from high blood pressure in the arteries of their lungs. This can cause shortness of breath and fainting, and can develop into heart failure.

Professor Morrell and his team will be studying whether bone-marrow, which has a vital role in producing many types of blood cells, also has a part to play in causing the disease. They will be studying a protein, which is linked to PAH, to work out whether it is important for bone-marrow function. They will also see if a bone-marrow transplant in mice can prevent or treat the condition.

Professor Morrell said:

“Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a devastating condition that nobody should have to live with. We hope that through the funding this grant provides we can see if one day bone-marrow transplants might be a viable treatment option.”

Dr Raphael continues the fight

Another researcher we are funding is Dr Claire Raphael from Imperial College London. Dr Raphael will undertake a two year fellowship to investigate the inherited heart condition hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which affects one in 500 people.

The condition causes abnormal blood flow in the blood vessels of the heart muscle, which can cause chest pain and may put people at greater risk of sudden death. Dr Raphael will be looking at patients with the disorder using sophisticated heart imaging techniques. This will help her find out what causes abnormal blood flow and support the development of a treatment for this debilitating condition.

On receiving the funding Dr Claire Raphael said:

“I’m delighted to receive this funding as it gives me a chance to make a difference to the lives of people living with HCM. I’m hoping to learn lots of new skills and gain more clinical experience, so it’s going to be an exciting two years.”

These grants are part of our fight for every heartbeat campaign. We aim to highlight the importance of research into inherited heart conditions, dangerous disorders that so often claim lives unexpectedly. Find out more about the campaign and our life-saving research.

We can’t support pioneering research like this without your continued support. Donate today and join our fight against heart disease.

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