Professor Hancox awarded Heart Research UK grant for pioneering study
24 January 2011
Professor Jules Hancox in the School of Physiology and Pharmacology has received a grant from Heart Research UK to examine how the heart's electrical activity can be adversely affected by certain prescription drugs.
This two-year project, in collaboration with computational biologists led by Professor Henggui Zhang in Manchester, will investigate these electrical disturbances, which can lead to arrhythmias, or abnormal rhythms in the heartbeat. Prescribed drugs can sometimes cause harmful side-effects by altering the activity of ion channels (tiny proteins in the membrane of each heart muscle cell). Professor Hancox’s research will examine the causes of this, and in particular why some people are particularly vulnerable to drug-induced arrhythmia.
‘Depending on the severity and type, cardiac arrhythmias can lessen the quality or length of a person’s life,’ said Professor Hancox. ‘In some cases, they can even cause sudden death. Ultimately, this project may help tailor drug treatments so that susceptible individuals can avoid harmful cardiac side-effects.’