QUB Awarded £100k For Heart Research

Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have been awarded grant funding of £100,000 to investigate abnormal heart rhythms in the hope of guiding the development of new treatments.

The British Heart Foundation NI committed the money to Dr David Simpson and his PhD student Oisín Cappa at the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine for their research into patients living with atrial fibrillation (AF).

AF is a common abnormal heart rhythm that causes an irregular heartbeat or pulse in over 39,000 people in Northern Ireland. The conditions is one of the major causes of stroke.

Using new techniques, the scientists will study thousands of individual cells from the hearts of people with and without AF. This will reveal in greater detail than ever before how heart cells work and how they are altered in patients with AF. Their hope is that this knowledge will guide development of ways to treat or even prevent the condition in the future.
News Image
Dr David Simpson said: "We're delighted to receive the grant from British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland for this important piece of research. We will be using new technology that will allow us to look at individual cells in the human heart and measure precisely how these cells change.

"AF often involves the formation of extra connective tissue, a process known as fibrosis. The aim of this project is to inform the development of interventions to slow or prevent AF by learning more about the cells that cause fibrosis. The donation of biopsies from patients with and without AF will enable us to carry out the work.

"If we can discover what is happening to the heart cells in people with AF at the next stage we can design new drugs and treatments for the condition."

Head of BHF NI Fearghal McKinney said: "Around 39,000 people in Northern Ireland have been diagnosed with AF and it is likely that there are thousands more living with the condition but are undiagnosed.

"AF can increase the risk of a blood clot forming inside the heart. If the clot travels out of the heart and into the blood vessels of the brain, it can cause a stroke. AF increases the risk of a stroke by up to five times so it is vital we fund more research into the condition and help save local lives."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

05 November 2019
Abortion: Public Consulted On New Laws
A public consultation on a new legal framework for abortion services in Northern Ireland has launched. It follows the decriminalisation of abortion last month after MPs passed a law in Parliament. Ministers are bound to introduce a system governing terminations by 31 March 2020, with the consultation closing on 16 December.
04 November 2019
Other News In Brief
NIFRS Launches L'Derry Volunteer Programme The Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service has launched a Volunteer programme at Crescent Link Fire Station in L'Derry. The programme is made up of 12 members of the public who volunteer their time to provide fire safety advice in their community.
06 November 2019
NI Majority Supports New Law On Stalking
The majority of people in Northern Ireland would strongly support the introduction of stalking legislation, a public consultation has found. The Department of Justice welcomed the clear message from the public but said changes in legislation will be delayed until a Northern Ireland Assembly is formed.
14 June 2019
Council Approves Major New Development In East Belfast
A major new development, on the site of the former Sirocco Works, has been given the go-ahead by Belfast City Council.
07 June 2019
New IRA Claim Responsibility For PSNI Car Bomb
The New IRA has claimed responsibility for the attempted murder of a PSNI officer with a car bomb last week. The device was discovered under the senior officer's car which was parked at Shandon Park Golf Club in east Belfast on Saturday 01 June. It was found by a member of the public and the golf club was evacuated.