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BHF AWARD FOR RESEARCH INTO POST-MI REGENERATION

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has awarded Professor Paul Riley its BHF Professor of Regenerative Medicine award. worth £1.5 million, enabling Prof Riley and his team to move to the University of Oxford and expand their research programme.

The new funding, from the heart charity’s Mending Broken Hearts Appeal, establishes Professor Riley and his team in newly equipped laboratories to continue their research into repairing the damage caused by myocardial infarction (MI).

Professor Riley’s team is looking at how the heart’s own cells might help to replace damaged muscle and blood vessels after MI.  They have recently shown, for the first time, that some adult heart cells have the capacity to repair damage if stimulated by the protein thymosin β4.1

The Mending Broken Hearts Appeal was launched earlier this year. The charity hopes to fund £50 million of groundbreaking regenerative medicine research to help develop new treatments in as little as 10 years’ time.

RileyLabcoatProfessor Riley said:  “We’re looking for ways to awaken the healing ability of the heart – and we’ve shown in mice that the heart has the potential to repair itself, if given the right stimulus. The next step is to find a way to achieve this in patients who have suffered a heart attack.

“This BHF Professor award gives me and my team the opportunity to use the resources and expertise here in Oxford, so that together we can make faster progress towards our goal of improving the lives of patients affected by debilitating heart failure – a condition that currently has no cure.”

Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the BHF, said:  “We’re delighted that Paul Riley is the first BHF Professor to be funded by our Mending Broken Hearts Appeal. He is leading the world in this field and we couldn’t have got off to a better start.  His move to Oxford, one of our Centres of Research Excellence, means he will join several other BHF-funded scientists searching for a way to heal damaged hearts. His research gives hope to hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who suffer from heart failure after a heart attack.”

Professor Riley takes up the new post of Chair of Development and Reproduction within the University of Oxford’s Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG). He will move with his research team, currently based at University College London, in October.

References

1 Smart N, Bollini S, Dubé KN, et al. De novo cardiomyocytes from within the activated adult heart after injury. Nature 474, 640–4. doi:10.1038/nature10188

For more information about the work of the BHF visit bhf.org.uk

Published on: September 7, 2011

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ENDORSED BY

  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association
 

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