LCBRU News, Media and Events

BRU heart professor recognised as top global researcher

Posted by kg198 at Dec 01, 2016 09:15 AM |

The “valuable and significant” work of a Leicester heart professor has won him recognition as one of the world’s most influential scientists.Professor Samani

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, who is Director of the NIHR Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) at Glenfield Hospital, has been named on an annual list which recognises global leading researchers in the sciences and social sciences.

This year the Highly Cited Researchers from the Intellectual Property (IP) and Science business of Thomson Reuters focused on contemporary research achievement.

Vin Caraher, who was the Chief Executive Officer and President of Thomson Reuters Healthcare and Science when the list was compiled, said Professor Samani had been selected because his work had been “identified as being among the most valuable and significant in the field”.

The list recognises approximately 3,000 researchers whose peer-reviewed papers have been frequently cited in academic literature.

Among his many research achievements, Professor Samani has greatly advanced the understanding of how DNA affects the risk of coronary heart disease, which is now guiding researchers towards finding more effective ways of its prevention and treatments.

Professor Samani, who is also Professor of Cardiology at the University of Leicester, and a Consultant Cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital said: “It is a tremendous honour to have been recognised among some of the world’s greatest researchers.

“It is an enormous privilege to have the opportunity to work in cardiovascular research. Although there has been great progress, cardiovascular diseases still remain the number one killer and a growing problem in many parts of the world.

“Whatever we can do to improve our understanding of the causes of heart disease is important and I plan to continue my work in helping to reduce the devastating burden of heart disease on families and individuals.”

Mr Caraher added: “Very few researchers earn this distinction – writing the greatest number of reports, officially designated by Essential Science Indicators as Highly Cited Papers.

“In addition, these reports rank among the top 1 per cent most cited works for their subject field and year of publication, earning them the mark of exceptional impact.”

In September Professor Samani was also appointed as the Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation (BHF), where he will oversee the £100 million that the BHF spends on research.

Last year Professor Samani was knighted for services to medicine and medical research.

Landmark genetics study to improve prediction of heart disease recruits 20,000th participant

Posted by mb543 at Oct 21, 2016 11:20 AM |

A team of researchers from the University of Leicester and NIHR Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit (LCBRU) in conjunction with colleagues from Primary Care and Leicester and Leicestershire CCGs have recruited their 20,000th participant to a landmark genetics study.

The Genetics and Vascular Health Check study (GENVASC) aims to determine whether the addition of genetic information can better improve risk prediction of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD).

Currently, coronary risk scores are used to classify individuals into low (<10%), medium (10-20%) and high (>20%) risk groups to help target prevention in those individuals at the greatest risk of developing CAD.

However, risk scores can be biased as they are heavily influenced by a person’s age.

For example, the majority of younger individuals would fall into low or medium risk groups by virtue of their age alone and would not be considered suitable candidates for prophylactics such as statins.

However, despite being ‘low risk’, many will still develop CAD.

The GENVASC study aims to determine whether it is possible to identify those with spurious low risk through the addition of genetic information.

As the majority of people fall into the low or medium risk category, the researchers suggest that being able to accurately identify and intervene at an early stage in those patients who will go on to develop CAD could have huge potential benefits in terms of clinical outcome and public health.

Chris Greengrass, Project Manager of the study at the University of Leicester, explains: “The GENVASC study capitalises on the unique opportunity provided by the NHS Health Check Programme, which is being widely promoted within Leicester and Leicestershire and specifically targets people aged 40-74 years who are free of cardiovascular disease.

“People taking part in the health check are simply asked to consent to provide an additional sample of blood at the time of their appointment so we can determine whether the addition of genetic information improves our ability to predict their risk for coronary disease.”

Through the team’s links with Arden and GEM, participants’ health outcomes can be followed up and matched to genetic variants that are known to affect a person’s risk of CAD, with much of this work having already been led by Leicester.

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Professor of Cardiology at the University of Leicester, Director of the Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit and Chief Investigator of the study, believes the potential for incorporating this information into routine care in the future is enormous.

Professor Samani said: “Using a simple, cost effective method for collecting genetic information, we are able to follow patients and see how their cardiovascular health is influenced by their genes. This means that in the future, people may be treated much earlier and more effectively through clearly targeted and tailored interventions.”

More information about the GENVASC study is available here.

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