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Manchester Met gets grant to study heart and circulatory disease

Friday 29th March 2019
Scientists will develop materials to recreate the conditions in which blood clots form, so they can explore their relationship to heart attacks and strokes.
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Scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University have been awarded a new grant to study causes of heart and circulatory disease.

The research, which is funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), will look into cardiovascular disease, as it’s responsible for more than one in four UK deaths.

It is to be led by Dr Sarah Jones, senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan’s School of Healthcare Science, and is expected to result in a new laboratory-based system to study heart attacks and strokes.

Fatty acids building up in the blood vessels can cause atherosclerotic plaque to form, which hardens and narrows arteries.

When this plaque is damaged a blood clot can form and block the vessel altogether, preventing oxygen and nutrients from reaching the organs.

This is called atherothrombosis and is what Dr Jones and her team will be focusing on throughout the research.

She explained that blood is exposed to the sticky proteins of a blood vessel when it is damaged and the best way to study what happens is to develop materials to recreate these conditions.

“We will then damage the endothelial cells to trigger blood clot formation, simulating atherothrombosis. This will enable us to improve our understanding of how blood clots that cause heart attacks and strokes develop, as well as testing out new drugs to treat patients,” Dr Jones added.

The researchers will use human blood and endothelial cells in their work and take factors, such as blood flow and heart rate into account.

This should give the team the best chance of understanding blood clots and how they contribute towards heart attacks and strokes.

According to the BHF, 915,000 people in the UK alive today have survived a heart attack and more than half a million are living with heart failure.

Written by Matthew Horton

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