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Shining a light on heart disease
Date:5/1/2014

A study to investigate how nanoparticles could be used to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease has received 3 million funding.

The project, led by the University of Strathclyde and involving researchers from the Universities of Glasgow and Warwick, is being supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Principal Investigator Professor Duncan Graham, Director of the Centre for Molecular Nanometrology at the University of Strathclyde, said: "Cardiovascular diseases cause more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK each year, and death rates from coronary heart disease are highest in Scotland.

"Estimates suggest the UK spends nearly 2 billion each year on healthcare costs of treating coronary heart disease our research combines nanotechnology with advanced statistical and biomedical research, focused on a clinical application which we hope will lead to a beneficial change in treatment of cardiovascular disease patients."

The research team will investigate atherosclerosis-related cardiovascular diseases (CVD), which are the leading cause of mortality in UK.

Currently, the risk of atherosclerosis in patients is identified by detecting specific inflammatory markers in the blood. However, atherosclerosis is characterised by inflammation localised in vessel walls and the researchers suspect it may be more beneficial to quantify vascular inflammation and to develop a method of delivering drugs directly to the diseased vessel.

To this end, the researchers will use nanoparticles small metallic particles which can be tagged onto other molecules which possess the ability to recognise inflammatory markers. The nanoparticles can then be detected by a technique called surface enhanced Raman scattering, whereby a light source is shone on the nanoparticles, transferring energy and causing them to vibrate.

The vibrations are detected and the strength of the s
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Contact: Lachlan Mackinnon
corporatecomms@strath.ac.uk
University of Strathclyde
Source:Eurekalert  

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