British Heart Foundation funds research on nutritional supplement to fight heart disease
16 May 2016
The British Heart Foundation has awarded a Cardiff University scientist over £200,000 to continue his research on developing a nutritional supplement that could help to fight heart disease.
Heart disease and stroke are responsible for approximately one in three deaths worldwide, with around 16 people dying of these conditions every day in Wales alone. The major cause of heart disease and stroke is atherosclerosis, a process that leads to narrowing of the arteries due to fatty deposits and inflammation.
Using cell-based models, recent research from the laboratory of Dr Dipak Ramji at Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences has shown that a natural fatty acid known as dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) inhibits several key biochemical steps involved in atherosclerosis.
The grant from the British Heart Foundation will enable Dr Ramji to take these findings further using animal models, and to gain a deeper insight into how DGLA mediates its protective effects in atherosclerosis.
The project involves collaboration with the School of Medicine at Cardiff University, Bristol Heart Institute, Ben-Gurion University in Israel and Osaka Medical School in Japan.
“These pilot studies of DGLA showed exciting results, and so we are delighted to receive this support from the British Heart Foundation to carry our research forward to the next stage.” Said Dr Ramji.
“Our future work provides real hope in the fight against heart disease, opening up new avenues for the use of DGLA in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis.”
Professor Jeremy Pearson (BHF Associate Medical Director) commented:
“We are pleased to be able to award this grant to Dr Ramji, which will help us to understand how a naturally occurring unsaturated fatty acid can reduce atherosclerosis in animal models and pave the way for translation to human dietary studies.”