The award of an NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit in 2007 with further renewal in 2011 and the opening of the new state of the art William Harvey Clinical Research Centre, has placed us in the prime position to expedite the discovery of new targets for cardiovascular therapeutics. Importantly the WHRI/Queen Mary strategic partnership with Quintiles Transnational enabled us to design and open the world’s first Prime Site in 2008. This concentrates clinical trials across multiple sponsors in a large-scale hub that currently runs 33 clinical trials across all therapeutic areas. In addition, these facilities have leveraged support for our own translational studies exploring novel therapeutics in cardiovascular disease resulting in an array of successes including:
With BHF Special Project we have shown that inorganic nitrate lowers BP, has antiplatelet activity and may treat hypertension and pulmonary hypertension (Ahluwalia). With Wellcome Programme grant funding we have highlighted the potential of targeting novel pathways in the natriuretic peptide system (Hobbs). We have a portfolio of molecules for cardiovascular inflammation several of which are in advanced pre-clinical development e.g. annexin mimetics, melanocortin receptor agonists (Perretti) and repurposing of existing therapies e.g. artusenate and pentoxiphylline (Thiemermann, Yaqoob).
A major goal of ours is to functionally characterise and investigate novel therapeutic targets generated from our genomic studies working alongside our strong clinical electrophysiology group at Barts Health. This clinical group have developed and translated into clinical care novel approaches to computer mapping of triggers for disorders of rhythm (Schilling).
Our research on device based diagnostics and therapies is growing and we were the UK Lead Recruiter for Symplicity HTN2 Trial showing that renal denervation is effective at lowering blood pressure. In addition, in the innovative HiLo Programme we are testing whether intensive case-based advice is superior to general education in improving cardiovascular risk management in primary care (Caulfield, Lobo, Collier).
Advanced Cardiac Imaging
Our NIHR BRU has enabled the creation of an advanced Cardiovascular Imaging Centre (high cadre imaging team (Petersen, Pugliese, Davies, Westwood) with training posts and imaging hardware 1.5 and 3 Tesla cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner and the first UK cardiac CT scanner of its kind (dual source, dual energy).
Stem Cell Research
Our research using stem cell therapy in the heart has led to three clinical trials, the REGENERATE trials treating IHD, DCM and AMI patients. Our current recruiting trial BAMI, which is funded by the European Commission with an FP7 grant, aims to recruit 3000 AMI patients over 11 countries around the UK and Europe (Mathur).