Science Minister learns about heart attack research at St Thomas'


Posted on Tuesday 14 March 2017
Minister Jo Johnson visits St Thomas' (credit BHF/Tim Bekir)

Jo Johnson (right) met Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the BHF (left), and Professor Mike Marber, Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at St Thomas’ this week. Credit BHF/Tim Bekir

The Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Jo Johnson, found out about an innovative heart attack test when he visited St Thomas’ Hospital this week.

Mr Johnson marked British Science Week by meeting a British Heart Foundation (BHF) funded research group, led by Professor Michael Marber, honorary consultant cardiologist at St Thomas’ and professor of cardiology at King’s College London.

The group is investigating if detecting a particular protein in the blood, which they have discovered is released by the heart into the bloodstream very soon after it is injured, could be a more accurate way to diagnose or rule out heart attacks compared to a similar existing test which detects a different type of protein.

Each year around two million people in the UK visit hospital with symptoms that could be caused by a heart attack, but it is only confirmed in about one in seven of them.  

Professor Marber said: “Sorting out those who have had a heart attack from those who haven’t has to be done quickly and accurately, which allows patients who have had a heart attack to receive the right treatment, improving their chances of recovery. It also means that those who haven’t had a heart attack can avoid unnecessary tests and inappropriate treatments.”

Jo Johnson MP said: “British Science Week is a great opportunity to celebrate the positive impact science has on the lives of millions around the world. The research taking place at St Thomas' Hospital is a prime example of this, helping to improve the diagnosis and treatment of heart attacks.

“Through our Industrial Strategy and the additional investment of £2 billion a year by 2020/21 in R&D, we are ensuring the UK remains a centre for high-quality medical research now and in the future.”

Professor Marber added: “It was a pleasure to present this research to Jo Johnson. He asked questions throughout about how we discovered the protein and the nature of the statistical comparisons between the two tests. The science behind the test, and how we’ve compared it to current care, is complicated so it was refreshing to be asked detailed questions about it.”

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the BHF, said: “Professor Marber’s research is a perfect example of the BHF’s unique contribution to speeding up the translation of laboratory science in to potentially lifesaving tests and treatments for patients.

“This project is just one of over 1,000 BHF-funded research projects seeking to make breakthroughs across all aspects of heart and circulatory disease.

“We welcome the government’s commitment to ensuring the UK remains one of the best places in the world for science and innovation, and look forward to working with the Minister over the coming years to ensure the UK continues to both compete and collaborate on a global stage.”

The research forms part of the BHF’s £400 million research funding to better understand and treat life changing heart and circulatory disease. Visit the BHF website to find out more.

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