The charity Heart Research UK is donating more than £100,000 to a project, led by Paolo Madeddu (chair of Experimental Cardiovascular Medicine, the University of Bristol, Bristol, UK), that is developing a new treatment, BACH1 inhibitors, for stimulating the growth of new blood vessels in the heart. Paolo Madeddu et al previously found that discovered that an excess of a protein called BACH1 can prevent blood vessel formation.

According to a press release, if successful, the project would be the first step in developing them into drug treatments for heart disease. This would result in improved quality of life and reduced risk of developing heart failure. The press release notes that this treatment may benefit people with 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.

Madeddu comments: “The use of BACH1 inhibitors is a very promising area of study that promises to have a huge 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 are very grateful to Heart Research UK for allowing us to undertake this research.”

Kate Bratt-Farrar, chief executive of Heart Research UK, says: “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.”

The £107,726 translational research project grant was awarded to the University of Bristol as part of Heart Research UK’s annual awards for research into the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease. Last year, the charity awarded more than £1.6 million in grants for medical research projects across the UK. To date, it has invested more than £25 million in medical research via its grants programme.