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“The BHF and the NHS have a shared history: one of pioneering medical advances and compassionate care, all to improve and save lives. I’m immensely proud that, working alongside the NHS, the BHF has played a leading role in halving death rates from heart and circulatory diseases across the UK. Thanks to the public’s generous donations, fundraising and legacies, the life saving research we fund will continue to make an impact not


just in the UK, but globally.” Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive, British Heart Foundation


Statins are now the most commonly pre-


scribed drug for those at risk of developing heart disease, saving around 7,000 lives in the UK each year alone.


GENES In 1994, BHF Professors Stephen Ball and Sir Nilesh Samani set up the Family Heart Study, which led to the discovery of genes linked to heart and circulatory diseases. Genetic discoveries set the stage for


new ways of preventing and treating heart disease.


HEART ATTACK In 1999, BHF Professor Keith Fox, in Edinburgh, started an international research programme called the GRACE registry which is now used worldwide to help doctors predict a heart attack and give people the treatment that could save their life.


2000s: FAMILY HISTORY Tanks to BHF-funded pioneering research and investment, genetic testing is available to search for the faulty genes responsible for familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH). BHF Professor Steve Humphries dedicated


his career to finding the genes that cause FH, an inherited condition which puts people at risk of early heart attack. Since 2010, we’ve invested £2 million into an FH


Biggest independent funder of heart and circulatory disease research in Scotland.


Since the BHF was established, the annual number of deaths from heart and circulatory diseases in Scotland has fallen by more than half.


We have enabled thousands of people to have genetic tests, preventing many premature deaths from heart disease.


BHF-funded research has led to statins being prescribed, saving lives every year in Scotland.


genetic testing programme and funded 27 FH nurses across the UK, to help improve diagnosis and prevent families suffering heart attacks at a young age.


STEM CELLS In 2015, BHF researcher Roger Pedersen showed that human stem cells develop nor- mally once transplanted into an embryo. Tis is the strongest evidence yet that stem cells are safe to use in regenerative medi- cine, paving the way for healing damaged hearts in the future.


BHF TODAY IN THE UK: l 800+ research projects l More than 1,000 of the best scientists l Nearly £450 million in active research grants


l 31 world leading BHF Professors l 6 BHF Centres of Research Excellence –


including at the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh


l 3 Centres of Regenerative Medicine – including at the University of Edinburgh


Te BHF supports research to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart diseases such as heart attacks and heart failure and circulatory diseases such as stroke and vascular dementia, and to mi- nimise the impact of their risk factors such as diabetes. n


NHS70 | SUMMER 2018 | 11


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