A new treatment for stimulating the growth of new blood vessels

Thanks to the funding of over £100,000 from national charity Heart Research UK.

A heart attack occurs when an artery supplying your heart with blood and oxygen becomes blocked. The blockage prevents blood and oxygen, reaching the heart muscle.

Treatment includes reopening the blocked coronary artery with stents or bypass surgery. However, there are constraints with these treatments. Reopening coronary arteries is frequently insufficient to accomplish a complete salvage of the heart, and the damage brought about by a heart attack can prompt heart failure.

Scientists at the University of Bristol investigated a new treatment for stimulating the growth of new blood vessels in the heart. It involves increasing the blood flow to damaged heart tissue by using drugs that encourage the body to grow new blood vessels.

A protein called BACH1 can prevent blood vessel formation. Scientists, through this project, hope to show that the use of BACH1 inhibitors can stimulate the growth of new blood vessels. If successful, this would be the first step in developing them into drug treatments for heart disease. 

Professor Paolo Madeddu, Chair of Experimental Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Bristol said“This treatment may benefit people suffering from other diseases where new vessel growth is needed, such as poor blood circulation in the legs, or damage to other organs, such as the kidney, brain, and eyes.”

“The use of BACH1 inhibitors is an up-and-coming area of study that promises to have a significant impact on the way that we treat a wide range of conditions.

“If we are successful, the door will be opened for a whole new method of treating people who have suffered damage to their hearts. The ability to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels will allow us to drastically improve the quality of life of patients who may be at risk of heart failure.

“We’re very grateful to Heart Research UK for allowing us to undertake this research.”

Kate Bratt-Farrar, Chief Executive of Heart Research UK, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the research of Prof Madeddu and his team, which has the potential to significantly reduce the risk of people developing heart failure after a heart attack.”

“Our Translational Research Project Grants are all about bridging the gap between laboratory-based scientific research and patient care – they aim to bring the latest developments to patients as soon as possible.

“The dedication we see from UK researchers is both encouraging and impressive, and Heart Research UK is so proud to be part of it.”

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