Personalised stroke and heart disease treatments closer with new BHF funding

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Personalised treatments for stroke and heart disease are closer thanks to ongoing charity funding for research at the University of Reading (Reading, UK). 

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has awarded Jon Gibbins and the team at the University of Reading’s Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (ICMR) a further £1.4 million 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. 

Gibbins, head of the IMCR, 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 marks a total of £4.4 million in investment from the charity into the research over the course of 20 years. The new tranche will fund five researchers for five years.  


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