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£1M BHF Programme Grant to support research on vascular inflammation

last modified Aug 24, 2016 03:39 PM

The BHF has awarded Dr Murray Clarke his first Programme Grant on "Novel mechanisms that induce vascular inflammation" (£966,437).

The research aims to understand processes that cause inflammation, which worsens heart and other diseases. Cells that die in blood vessels are usually eaten by other cells. However, when dead cells do not get eaten they burst and release their contents, causing inflammation. One important factor released is Interleukin-1α, which has powerful effects on many processes of both innate and adaptive immunity.

The group made the novel discovery that IL-1α is activated by thrombin - the enzyme that normally causes blood to clot. Thus, during blood clotting (e.g. during heart attacks or after laceration) IL-1α could be activated and induce inflammation, either worsening vascular disease, or conversely activating an immune response to stop infection.

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