Monitoring of heart attack and stroke patients improved by new test

November 26, 2010, University if Nottingham

Experts in cardiovascular medicine at The University of Nottingham have won a package of benefits worth £40,000 to develop a simple test which will improve the monitoring and care of heart attack and stroke patients.

Each year, in England alone, some 110,000 people suffer from a stroke and 1.4 million people exhibit symptoms of such as angina. Nearly all these people are treated with anti-platelet agents which are taken daily to prevent a thrombotic incidence occurring leading to another stroke or a heart attack.

The new simple-to-use kit will measure the effectiveness of these drugs. It will tell doctors whether to adjust the dose of the medicine or prescribe a different medicine — reducing the risk of further events in patients.

Using their own patented technology the test has been developed by Professor Stan Heptinstall, with Dr. Sue Fox and Jane May, in the Thrombosis and Haemostasis Research Group in the School of Clinical Sciences. They now plan to set up a spin out company, Platelet Solutions, to improve the accuracy and reliability of platelet activity testing and manufacture and distribute the kits.

Professor Heptinstall said: “The test needs no specialist equipment and can be undertaken in a GP’s surgery or any other healthcare setting. We believe the test will provide a simple-to-use means of monitoring the effects of anti-platelet drugs, especially in the chronic care setting, and will provide for the growing demand for individualised medicine in patients with cardiovascular disease.”

Three teams from across India, and two UK teams of researchers, were shortlisted to compete for two packages of financial and expert support in the BioPharm 2020: UK-India Biotechnology Business Plan Challenge 2010.

The competition gives scientists a new chance to win funding to build healthcare or pharmaceutical businesses from their ideas with the aim of creating real businesses which bring fresh ideas and innovation into the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector.

The prize provides the team with 12 months of business start-up facilities at BioCity in Nottingham along with mentoring and business advice and a £20,000 cash award.

Since this success the Thrombosis and Haemostasis Group has had another. Dr. Natalia Dovlatova has won an Enterprise Fellowship Award to enable her to develop blood testing in patients with cardiovascular disease to a new higher level.

Enterprise Fellowship Awards aim to inspire the next generation of Nottingham entrepreneurs and provide funding to candidates who want to further their innovation and explore the route to successful commercial exploitation. Natalia's award includes a year’s salary and up to £20,000 for research related costs which will facilitate the development of a new method to test the effectiveness of several antiplatelet drugs based on the measurement of VASP (vasodilator stimulated protein) phosphorylation using fluorescent beads and flow cytometry. This work supports the division's programme of research which is aimed at understanding the mechanisms involved in cardiovascular disease and at improving diagnosis and treatment.

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