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.

04 December 2020
8,000 New Homes Needed Across Ards Area
NI Water has announced that the Ards and North Down area will need around 8,000 new homes by 2030. The company made the announcement at the Ards and North Down Borough Council meeting, to update representatives on infrastructure plans going forward and the level of investment needed for the Council area.
13 April 2021
Xperience IT To Create 16 New Jobs
Lisburn digital transformation specialist Xperience IT is to invest over £1.5million and create 16 jobs as part of plans to expand its business offering with a new IT service platform.
01 December 2020
New Online Tool To Help Businesses Navigate The End Of Transition
A new online tool to help services exporters prepare for the end of the transition period has been announced by Economy Minister Diane Dodds.
30 November 2020
'United Approach' Needed To Ensure Safe Return Of Students
A united approach is needed across the UK to ensure that students can safely return to university and college after the Christmas holidays.
19 April 2021
New Grant Schemes For Cancer And Mental Health Charities Established
New grant schemes for cancer and mental health charities and a Carers Support Fund have been established. The Cancer Charities Support Fund and Mental Health Support Fund will each receive £10million, while £4m has been allocated to the Carers Support Fund.