NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit

In 2008, and again in 2012, the excellence of our cardiovascular research under the leadership of Prof Mark Caulfield, was recognised by the award of our National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit (£12m). Our Translational research programme integrates cardiovascular genetics, stem cell biology, inflammation science, pharmacology, electrophysiology, advanced CV Imaging, experimental medicine and large-scale trials to create a flow of concepts from the bench into the clinic.

The NIHR via our CVBRU funded during the first award the establishment of the advanced imaging centre, our clinical research centre and established our new bioinformatics and biorepository facility. Our current NIHR BRU award funds accelerating genomics into healthcare, vascular inflammation, electrophysiology and advanced imaging. We have used the platform of the NIHR BRU at Barts to be the UK leading recruiter to an innovative trial of Renal Deneravtion. Our role in this trial was showcased in the Prime Minister’s statement on UK Life Sciences in 2011.This funding has allowed us to have a multidisciplinary approach to support many areas of translational research, including drug discovery, stratified medicine and clinical informatics.

We are working in close partnership with clinicians working across all the disease areas at the WHRI, including Cardiovascular, Inflammatory and Endocrine diseases. In addition have built linked clinical databases to a Cardiovascular Bio-repository which will help prime scientific bench to bedside research, rapid recruitment of patients and analysis of clinical trial cohorts by genotype or phenotype.

One example of the success of our BRU has been our involvement in a landmark randomised clinical, trial, published in the Lancet in collaboration with the medical device company Ardian, to demonstrate the effectiveness of their new catheter-based treatment for therapy-resistant hypertension.The Simplicity Cather System is used to perform a procedure termed renal denervation. Once in place within the renal artery, the device delivers low power radio frequency energy to deactivate the surrounding renal sympathetic nerves.This, in turn, reduces activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which reduces blood pressure.The trial demonstrated the potential of this device to impact significantly on the standard care for a large number of patients who are suffering from hypertension but who do not respond to current pharmaceutical therapies.

The Biomedical Research Unit Training Academy offers high-quality training for clinical fellows and healthcare related staff delivering on one of the most important themes of education and training. This programme is designed to be multi-disciplinary and flexible to encourage not just clinicians but also allied healthcare staff to undertake higher degrees and short courses.

Further information

To find out more about the CVBRU please contact Melanie Evans


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