University of Leeds

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Grant success for heart research

Mark and some of his team (l-r): Dr Afroze Abbas, Dr Matthew Kahn, Dr Adil Rajwani and Professor Mark KearneyTwo large awards totalling more than £1.3 million have been won by Mark Kearney, Professor of Cardiology in LIGHT, and his team of researchers for their work on diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Professor Kearney was awarded nearly £500,000 from the Medical Research Council, and £830,000 from the British Heart Foundation for research which seeks to establish the causes of heart disease in people with type two diabetes, with a view to developing new treatments for the condition.

Heart disease is the major cause of death and disability for people with diabetes, with 80% of those affected dying from complications associated with heart disease. To put the figures in context, by 2020 there will be 300 million people with diabetes around the world.

Professor Kearney’s work focuses on the mechanisms that cause cardiovascular disease. In particular the research focuses on insulin resistance, the hallmark of type two diabetes and obesity. Previous work has shown that insulin resistance is linked to patients with heart disease both with and without diabetes.

“The extraordinary prevalence of diabetes both in the UK and around the world, make this research into associated cardiovascular disease extremely important,” said Professor Kearney.

Specifically, Professor Kearney is looking at the insulin receptors in the artery walls of people with type two diabetes, to work out how and why they might be malfunctioning. These receptors are also a target for potential therapies.

“A focus of our research is on insulin resistance in diabetes patients,” he said. “By changing the lining of the arteries to make them more sensitive to insulin we hope to shine a light on what exactly the link between heart disease and diabetes is.”

Mark and some of his team (l-r): Dr Afroze Abbas, Dr Matthew Kahn, Dr Adil Rajwani and Professor Mark Kearney

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