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The William Harvey Research Institute - Barts and The London

Professor Morris Brown

Morris

Professor of Endocrine Hypertension

Centre: Clinical Pharmacology

Email: morris.brown@qmul.ac.uk
Telephone: +44(0) 20 7882 3901

Profile

  • Qualified in Classics and Medicine from Cambridge in 1974.
  • Trained in Clinical Pharmacology at Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith, MRC Senior Fellow 1982-1985.
  • Foundation Chair of Clinical Pharmacology, Cambridge, 1985-2016.
  • Director of Wellcome Trust Translational Medicine and Therapeutics training programme, 2008-2016.

Memberships and awards

Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the American Heart Association, the British Pharmacological Society.

  • 1985 Raymond Horton-Smith Prize (Cambridge MD Prize)
  • 2002 Lilly Prize, British Pharmacological Society
  • 2003 Hospital Doctor of the Year 2003
  • 2005 Walter Somerville Medal, British Cardiac Society
  • 2014 Pickering Lecturer, British Hypertension Society
  • 2016 Royal College of Physicians/Lancet Research Award (for ‘outstanding research contributing to excellent patient care’)

Research

Group members

Jackie Salsbury (Clinical trials co-ordinator), Dr Elena Azizan (Royal Society Newton post-doc Fellow), Dr Junhua Zhou (post-doc), Dr Xilin Wu (NIHR Clinical PhD Fellow), Dr Emily Goodchild (BTLC Clinical PhD fellow), Sumedha Garg (visiting BHF PhD student).

Summary 

My research, laboratory and clinical, has sought to discover causes of hypertension, and to optimise its management either by achieving complete cure, e.g. by removal of a hormone-producing adrenal tumour (phaeochromocytoma, Conn's), or by finding the right drug for the right patient. In 1999, I proposed the AB/CD rule, relating choice of treatment to patient's age and plasma renin. As President of the British Hypertension Society 2005-7 I established a research network that won funding from the British Heart Foundation to conduct a series of clinical trials, the 'PATHWAY' programme establishing optimal treatment for different categories of Hypertension. These have been published in Lancet or American journals. My current research is mainly focussed on the adrenal gland, and the small aldosterone-producing adenomas which are a common cause of hypertension – unrecognised in 99% of cases. We discovered a sub-type of these with hallmark somatic mutations, often presenting with resistant hypertension. There diagnosis has been facilitated by development of a PET CT (using 11C-metomidate) that lights up even the tiniest (4-5 mm) nodules, often in patients whose conventional CT of the adrenals was normal. In an NIHR project, we are comparing our PET CT with the invasive test of adrenal vein sampling, for their accuracy in predicting cure of hypertension by adrenalectomy. In a BHF-funded project, we are evaluating a less invasive alternative to surgery, namely ultrasound guided endoscopic radiofrequency ablation of the adenoma.

 

Key Publications

Collaborators

Internal

Prof William Drake (QMUL/Barts); Dr Chaz Mein (QMUL); Professor Panos Deloukas (QMUL); Dr Peter King (QMUL). 

External

Ms Laila Parvanta (Barts); Prof Annette Dolphin (UCL); Prof Stephen Pereira (UCL); Prof Erik Arstad (UCL); Dr Mark Gurnell (Cambridge); Dr HK Cheow (Cambridge)

BHF PATHWAY Investigators

Prof Bryan Williams (UCL); Prof Tom Macdonald (Dundee); Prof Kennedy Cruickshank (KCL); Prof Philip Chowienczyk (KCL); Dr Steve Morant (Dundee); Prof Joerg Striessnig (Innsbruck); Prof Felix Beuschlein (Munich); Prof Akihiko Ito (Kindai, Japan; Dr Celso Gomez Sanchez (Mississippi).