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London researchers to find new tests to predict heart disease

A team of researchers from London are looking into new ways of predicting who might be at risk of heart disease or a stroke, which could help save more lives.

The two-year project, funded with a £98,808 grant from national charity Heart Research UK, will work on a unique fingerprint profile of blood fats to identify who may be at risk of heart attacks or strokes in the future as well as helping those currently being treated for cardiovascular disease.

The team, led by Professor Manuel Mayr at King’s College London, has used advanced technologies to develop a new test that can measure more than 100 different fats in the blood.  They’ve already found that some types of fats, not measured in current tests, may help to identify people with a higher risk of heart disease or stroke. 

Currently, the assessment of traditional risk factors like obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, diabetes and high blood pressure fail to predict cardiovascular disease in between a quarter and half of all patients. 

The grant from Heart Research UK will allow the King’s team to find new “biomarkers” that can be used together with traditional risk factors to help predict who is at risk of cardiovascular disease – allowing lifestyle changes or medical treatment to be applied sooner to prevent the disease happening and save more lives.

Professor Mayr from King’s, who has recently received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the European Society of Cardiology said:   "Good and bad cholesterol are already assessed in patients with heart disease. However, there is a much broader diversity of fats in blood that are not routinely measured. Our study breaks new ground by applying a technology called ‘mass spectrometry’ to blood fats in patients with heart disease. We are very grateful for the financial support by Heart Research UK, which enables us to pursue this very promising area of research."

Barbara Harpham, National Director of Heart Research UK said:  “Being able to predict more accurately who might be at risk of heart disease or stroke will allow treatment and lifestyle changes to be brought in earlier and hopefully save more lives.  Death rates from heart disease and stroke in the UK are still far too high, so we hope this interesting research project will provide us with new information that ultimately helps patients.”

You can also follow Heart Research UK on Twitter or become a fan of their Facebook page.

For further information contact Chris Child on 0113 297 6207

Notes to Editors

Heart Research UK

Heart Research UK is a visionary charity that funds ground-breaking medical research into the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease. 

Having funded six of the first eight successful UK heart transplants, Heart Research UK

has been helping hearts by supporting clinical and surgical projects and young researchers on their first steps into research. In the last 10 years the charity has funded over £10.6m on research projects in hospitals and universities across the UK as well as £1.2m on community-based lifestyle projects that aim to prevent or reduce the risks of heart disease.  What’s raised locally is spent locally.