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Top charity injects "more than a million" into the south-west to help fight heart disease

Press release issued: 28 June 2002

Media release
Top charity injects "more than a million" into the south-west to help fight heart disease

New £1.8m 'Bristol Labs 'aim to turn research into reality for heart patients across the UK

A new era of pioneering heart research in Bristol is launched today (Fri 28 June) with the official opening of state-of-the-art cardiology labs at the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI).

The labs at the BRI (which is run by The United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust) have been funded in part by a £1.8m donation from the British Heart Foundation (BHF). They will be dedicated to advancing the treatment of heart disease and ensuring the quick transfer of clinical research results into patient treatment. Despite a recent drop in the number of deaths from coronary heart disease1 (CHD), it remains the UK's single biggest killer with around 125,000 deaths each year.

The substantial BHF funding allows the Bristol Heart Institute, a University of Bristol Research Centre, to devote the majority of laboratory time to uninterrupted research into areas most urgently in need of treatment development, including adult congenital heart disease (GUCH) and gene therapy (angiogenesis). Without this funding, the Bristol team believes that vital research into these areas could have been significantly delayed.

Research is planned in the following areas:
* The development of new intervention techniques for treating patients with coronary artery diseases
* New techniques for gene therapy (angiogenesis) focussing on ways to stop the process that leads to heart attack
* The development of new treatments to prevent blood clots occurring in patients undergoing angioplasty and stent insertion
* A focus on new techniques for the treatment of Grown Up Congenital Heart disease (GUCH) including closure devices for complex cases

The BHF grant has covered the refurbishment of existing cardiology laboratories and equipped a new angiography suite for investigative procedures into chest pain and angina. The latest bi-plane X-ray machine has also been purchased, allowing for the production of sophisticated 2-dimensional images of the heart.

Professor Sir Charles George, Medical Director, BHF, said: "We are delighted that Bristol's new laboratories are now ready for use and look forward to important new advances in the treatment of coronary heart disease. The team's ability to devote the majority of laboratory time to the development of new therapies is good news for heart patients."

The Bristol Heart Institute includes a number of internationally acclaimed cardiologists, including Professor Gianni Angelini (BHF Professor of Cardiac Surgery and Director of the Bristol Heart Institute), Professor Andrew Newby (BHF Chair of Vascular Cell Biology) and Karl Karsch (Professor of Cardiology). It is hoped that the addition of the new facilities will further emphasise the Institute's position as one of the leading cardiac centres in Europe and bring real benefits for patients across the South West and the rest of the UK.

Professor of Cardiology at the Bristol Heart Institute Karl Karsch, said: "The support of the BHF has been instrumental in allowing for the unique and close working relationship between the Bristol Heart Institute and Bristol University's department of cardiology. Our inter-related complementary clinical and research skills makes us a highly competitive centre of excellence for effective clinical research and treatment."

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Copyright: 2001 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Friday, 28-Jun-2002 11:45:07 BST

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