Cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for a quarter of all deaths in the UK and is the largest cause of premature mortality in deprived areas. The NHS Long-Term Plan (2019) says that CVD is the “single biggest area where the NHS can save lives over the next 10 years”. Making the most of Oxford’s strengths in population and discovery science and advances made in previous BRCs, we are working with patients to tackle this problem.
Our researchers are working to develop ways of intervening earlier in the care pathway to prevent future cardiovascular risk, for example in mothers, or trying reduce the risk of people with CVD going on to have heart attacks and strokes.
We have some powerful tools at our disposal: the Acute Multidisciplinary Imaging and Interventional Centre (AMIIC), the world’s only centre that integrates an interventional suite with the first clinical photon-counting CT scanner and utilises artificial intelligence infrastructure and expertise; a number of Oxford-led national and international resources, such as the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS) and the UK Biobank.
We also have a strong track record of collaborations with industry and spin-out companies in this area, as well as working with patient groups, who helped to set the priorities for this theme.
Our work encompasses three sub-themes:
Sub-theme 1: Identifying and validating new therapeutic targets
Leads: Professor Claudia Monaco, Professor Jemma Hopewell
We are aiming to identify new drug targets – and repurposing existing drugs – that work in different patient populations, using complementary approaches: the use of big patient datasets to analyse the genetic aspects; and single-cell biology techniques using human tissue. Read more
Sub-theme 2: Applying new technologies to improve personalised prevention and management of CVD
Lead: Professor Charalambos Antoniades
The overarching aim of this sub-theme is to use cutting-edge technology to develop highly accurate non-invasive methods of diagnosing CVD, where currently it has had to be achieved through invasive procedures.
This includes state-of-the-art imaging techniques, such as our new photon-counting CT scanner; developing new radiotranscriptomic platforms and artificial intelligence systems to identify cytokine-driven vascular inflammation from routine CT images; or better understanding the genetic factors that increase the risk of inherited heart conditions. Read more
Sub-theme 3. Addressing maternal cardiovascular risk
Leads: Professor Marian Knight, Professor Paul Leeson
We are bringing together our strengths in population health and discovery science to address the leading cause of death during and after pregnancy in the UK: acquired CVD. Drawing on our work across the theme, we are aiming to understand which mothers are at greatest risk of developing CVD in future, what interventions might reduce that risk, and which new therapies have the potential to translate into use in the NHS after clinical trials. Read more