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Leading cardiovascular research unit opens in East London

A new research unit to target the exploration and treatment of cardiovascular disease and other heart conditions will be unveiled today (19 May) at the London Chest Hospital in East London.

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Professor Mark Caulfield
Professor Mark Caulfield

The London NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit, funded through a £3.4 million grant to Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, and Barts and The London NHS Trust, from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), will be at the forefront of turning cardiovascular disease research into improved patient treatment.

The state-of-the-art research facility will pioneer new treatments for heart disease and other cardiac conditions through innovative translational research trials.

Director of The London NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit, Professor Mark Caulfield, said this investment in research staff, research themes and infrastructure at The London Chest Hospital meant scientists and consultants could quickly turn research findings into improved clinical outcomes for patients.

“The unit’s focus is on translational research, which involves scientists and clinicians working closely together and translating findings in the lab into real ‘bedside’ benefits for the patient,” Professor Caulfield said.

“We are pioneering trials into unique areas of research exploration through which we hope to quickly establish novel therapies and treatments for patients with heart problems.

“Trials include exploring the use of beetroot juice as a method to reduce blood pressure, innovative approaches to cardiovascular adult stem cell therapy, and improved cardiovascular imaging.

“The unit has been fitted with state-of-the-art facilities for non-invasive multi-modality cardiovascular imaging tools, including Britain’s first Definition Flash CT scanner which performs a detailed scan of the entire heart in just 250 milliseconds and allows earlier detection of heart problems.

“Other technologies include cardiac positron emission tomography, cardiovascular magnetic resonance and echocardiography.

“Being based at a leading cardiac hospital, the unit has a strong patient focus and a key goal is to create more detail around the characterisation of patients in the development of unique cardiovascular imaging strategies.”

The unit’s six key areas of research are genetics and biomarkers of cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular stem cell therapy, translational vascular pharmacology, ischemia reperfusion injury and microcirculation research, translational cardiac electrophysiology and devices research, and translational advanced cardiovascular imaging.

Heart and circulatory disease is the UK’s biggest killer.

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