Unparalleled environment for translational cardiovascular research

Our Cardiovascular Theme’s research aims are to diagnose, treat and ultimately prevent cardiovascular disease, the most frequent cause of death in the UK. A better definition of disease mechanisms in patients with cardiovascular disease and its underlying causes allows the development of precision medicine approaches including biomarkers for diagnostics and new biological therapeutics.

Within our unparalleled environment for early translational research, created through the integration and alignment of clinical and academic activities, our cardiovascular research activity falls under four programmes:

  • Programme 1: Novel therapeutic targets
  • Programme 2: Novel disease mechanisms and pathophysiology
  • Programme 3: Biomarkers and diagnostics
  • Programme 4: Devices and advanced therapies

Example projects

  • Circulating protein biomarkers as indicators of cardiovascular disease We have identified cardiac myosin binding protein C (cMyC) as a more sensitive marker of cardiac injury and have developed an assay to quantify cMyC in the circulation.  We have recently shown that this can be used to  provide an earlier diagnosis of heart attack (acute myocardial infarction) and predict future risk of cardiovascular events and death (Eur J Heart Fail. 2021;23(5):716-725). We are now developing this as a routine diagnostic tool to support more effective treatment decisions earlier in the care pathway.

 

  • RNA therapeutics for cardiac regeneration Through systematic, high throughput screenings we have identified two microRNAs that stimulate cardiac regeneration after myocardial infarction in model systems, paving the way to clinical application (Gabisonia, K, et al. 2019. Nature 569, 418). Our recent work shows that these microRNAs can be delivered to the heart using lipid nanoparticles in a similar way to mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines.

 

  • Personalised blood pressure control With the ultimate aim to deliver personalised treatment for high blood pressure, the AIM HY Study (Ancestry and biological Informative Markers for stratification of Hypertension) involves 26 investigators over 11 institutions in the UK and US. It is investigating whether genetic markers of ancestry, combined with detailed information about the chemical makeup of their blood, can predict the best type of drug or combination of drugs for that person.

 

  • Cell therapy for the treatment of critical limb ischemia and COVID-19 We have pioneered the use of monocyte cell therapy for the treatment of critical limb ischemia, which affects over 40,000 patients per year in the UK, and for the prevention of fibrosis in patients with severe COVID-19. A pipeline for GMP production and first-in-human application is operational and has been implemented for two first-in-human clinical trials (the ROAM-CLI study and the MONACO Cell Therapy Study respectively).