“There’s a lot of very exciting cardiovascular research going on at the moment which the BHF is heavily investing in – from stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine to identifying genes that could be linked to heart and circulatory diseases.
There’s also been great progress in understanding the role that the immune system plays in diseases such as atherosclerosis (the build-up of fatty plaque in your arteries). Atherosclerosis is essentially a disease of chronic inflammation, and we now know so much more about how specific components of your immune system drive the process of chronic inflammation.
And if you really want to get excited about cardiovascular research, the four programs that have been shortlisted for the Big Beat Challenge are amazingly ambitious and exciting, and
they all have the potential to take basic science through to the therapeutic arena.
These are the plans laid out in the four shortlisted projects:
1) A soft robotic heart that replaces the need for heart transplants. It will have artificial muscles and sensors to enable natural movement, and a wireless energy supply.
2) Wearable technology that can be used in daily life to capture more information than ever before, recording everything from symptoms you’re experiencing to how your heart is working, as well as how much exercise you’re doing and even quality of the air you’re breathing. This information could transform diagnosis and treatment of heart diseases.
3) Building a detailed map and understanding of the fatty deposits that develop in arteries. This may lead to a new wave of medicines and vaccines that can prevent heart attacks and strokes.
4) A treatment that stops the action of the faulty genes that cause cardiomyopathies, the diseases of the heart muscle that can lead to sudden death or heart failure at an early age.”