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Personalised stroke and heart disease treatments closer with new BHF funding – University of Reading

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Personalised stroke and heart disease treatments closer with new BHF funding

Release Date 08 September 2020

blood drawn for research

Personalised treatments for strokes and heart disease is closer thanks to ongoing charity funding for research at the University of Reading.

The British Heart Foundation have awarded Professor Jon Gibbins and the team at the Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (ICMR) a further £1.4m in research funding for 2020-2025. The money will help the team to continue their research on how individuals' platelets, which are responsible for blood clotting, act differently.

The renewal of this long-running research project will enable the ICMR team to use new tests developed during previous funding rounds to understand how platelets react to different functions

Platelets are blood cells that perform a protective function, triggering blood clotting following injury, although diseased blood vessels also trigger their functions causing clot formation in the circulation (thrombosis) which causes heart attacks and strokes.

Professor Jon Gibbins, the Head of the Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research at the University of Reading said:

"Drugs that reduce platelet function are effective in preventing heart attacks and strokes, but do not work for everybody and are associated with side effects such as bleeding. A key problem is that most patients are treated similarly without understanding which will benefit most or which specific treatments should be used.

"We have developed new tests to study platelets, their responses to drugs and the processes that control these. Our results show that our tests may be used to determine who to treat and which medicines to use.

"This latest award from the British Heart Foundation will help us to learn how patients who have had thrombosis, or are at high risk of this, respond in our tests. We will find if this predicts which patients should take which medicines and by analysis of platelet proteins, determine why different peoples' platelets respond differently. These studies will lead to personalised and more effective ways to prevent or treat heart attacks and strokes."  

The funding from the British Heart Foundation has been renewed for the third time, and sees an investment of £4.4m from the charity into this research for 20 years. The new award will fund five researchers for five years. 

Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said:

"Understanding how blood clots form and how they can be better prevented is one of the key questions in stopping heart attacks and strokes.

"This important research programme, led by Professor Gibbins, will help us find answers that can further improve the treatment of people with heart and circulatory disease.

"Funding this high-quality research is only possible thanks to the generosity of the public whose support has already helped saved countless lives." 



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