Category Archives: 2021

July 15th 2021 – Hatter Cardiovascular Institute PhD student makes a difference in disability across UCL

A valuable member of our research team, Mira Katsur is completing her PhD at the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute, focusing on exosomes and their role in cardioprotection. With Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns stalling research activities over this past winter, Mira found herself with time to spare. Instead of binging on box sets however, Mira turned her attention to how she could improve staff and student experiences at UCL.

Reading through the latest UCL disability report, Mira, a postgraduate student representative for the Institute of Cardiovascular Science, found that students with visible and invisible disabilities experience plenty of difficulties during their studies, most of which are preventable. She applied for ChangeMakers project funding to implement two changes in her institute.  Together with another student representative and staff member, she prepared a document for new students with information about what disability is, what help is available in the UCL and where to turn for help. Moreover, this information currently included into the presentation for induction of new students in the Institute. She also agreed with the Head of Student Welcome & Induction that this information will be included into online module for all new UCL students in the nearest future:

Further, she agreed with Heads of Research Departments and Institute leads that staff will have training on disability starting from the 2021/2022 academic year. The institute staff will be trained how to talk about disability, how they can provide informal solutions to help their students before formal support is provided by the UCL, and how to make offices and laboratories to be suitable and attractive for prospective students with disabilities. She is currently arranging tailored staff training with Enhance the UK, a charity led by disabled people, and Head of Student Support and Wellbeing in the UCL.

Through this work, Mira caught the attention of UCL Communications. They have launched a new blog campaign called ‘Class of 21’ which will feature 21 students and student groups who have gone above and beyond this year in a series of posts, videos and stories. Hearing about all her great contributions as an Academic Rep, she was asked to participate. Her blog post can be read here.

Great work Mira!

July 2nd, 2021 – WEBINAR: The importance of SGLT2 inhibitors & GLP-1 analogues in the management of type 2 diabetes and cardio-renal disease – Discussion Continues

The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute at University College London hosted its second, webinar to discuss & debate SGLT2 inhibitors & GLP-1 analogues in the management of Diabetes & Cardio-Renal disease on 2nd July.

The aim of these meetings is to inform clinical trainees, early in their careers, about the use of SGLT2 inhibitors and GLP-1 analogues with their patient groups and to encourage multi-disciplinary working. The meeting welcomed a diverse audience of cardiology, diabetology and nephrology SpR’s from across the UK.

Prof Niko Marx, University of Essen, presented an exemplary overview of these two compounds across all 3 specialities and set the scene for follow-on case presentations by Prof Malcolm Walker (Cardiology), Prof David Wheeler (Nephrology) and Prof Stephanie Baldeweg (Diabetology). Breaking out into smaller groups, the SpR’s further explored challenges and practicalities within their own practice, bringing these questions back to the larger group. This shared forum resulted in active discussion and generation of recommendations on how all three specialties can work together to the benefit of their patients.

We encourage all interested trainees to register their interest and join us on FRIDAY the 24th SEPTEMBER, 2021 at 12pm for our next webinar, in the series, which should last approximately 1 hour – please see the programme below. THERE IS NO CHARGE TO ATTEND.

Please register here:

https://ucl.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAtde-trToiEtRPj91GyS2xOzwN05ukUgkD

Webinar Chairpersons:
Professors Derek Yellon, Stephanie Baldeweg, John Cunningham

PROGRAMME:

1. Emerging therapies affecting cardiovascular, renal and metabolic medicine?

Prof Mansoor Husain, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

 2. SpR Case presentations: Out of my comfort zone!

(i) Cardiovascular – Dr Ali Rauf, Cardiology SpR – How do I handle a patient with renal/diabetic co-morbidities?

(ii) Renal – Dr Tamer Rezk, Nephrology SpR – How do I handle a patient with cardiac/diabetic co-morbidities?

(iii) Metabolic – Dr Eleni Armeni, Diabetes and Endocrinology SpR – How do I handle a patient with cardiac/renal co- morbidities?

 3. Breakout Discussions by Trainees

 

**Photos from 2nd July meeting**

 

May 20th, 2021 – Hatter Cardiovascular Institute PhD Student Talks Trash on BBC Radio

Hatter Cardiovascular Institute PhD student, Mira Katsur, can normally be found hard at work in the lab isolating nano-sized exosomes and investigating their protective properties on the heart. However, over lockdown, Mira’s focus turned to much larger objects within her local community.

While out walking one day in Ely (Cambridgeshire), she noticed an individual collecting rubbish along the road. Seeing this opened her eyes to how much litter was present on roadways and in parks throughout her community. This got her thinking about what she could do to help clean up the environment.

Her first mission was to create a Facebook group within the local community to gauge interest from other community spirited individuals who may also be interested in cleaning up Ely. To her surprise she attracted over 50 members in the first day!  Four months later, their membership is over 700 residents and going strong. What began as an initial ad hoc gathering to collect litter, has become an organised group who meet regularly to clean up their parks, playgrounds and streets.

Local businesses have since come on board as well, supplying equipment and materials for the team. Reaching out to other local groups including Scouts and schools, these organisations are now involved and active. Recently, the initiative has spread to nearby villages, and together collectively are affecting a tangible and meaningful improvement in their environments.

This week Mira was interviewed by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire to find out more about her grassroots approach and how she’s managed to spearhead a community approach to a shared problem. You can listen to her interview here. Well done Mira!

March 2nd, 2021 – Dr Maryna Basalay from the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute at UCL, awarded as 2021 Paul Dudley White International Scholar

The American Heart Association has recognised the research excellence of Dr Maryna Basalay by announcing her as the 2021 Paul Dudley White International Scholar. This award recognizes all the authors that contributed to the highest ranked abstract from each country; the abstract submitted by Dr Basalay and the team at the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute being the highest ranked abstract submitted from the United Kingdom.

Dr Basalay is the lead for the Neuroprotection research programme at the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute investigating mechanisms to protect the brain from ischaemic stroke. Despite only starting 3 years ago, Dr Basalay has undertaken a substantial amount of research that has enabled us to understand the complexities of neuroprotection.

The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute is very proud of this achievement by Maryna and the whole team and looks forward to seeing further research excellence from this programme.

Dr Basalay will present her abstract to the International Stroke Conference which taking place as a virtual event in March.

To view the award, please click here.

February 9th, 2021 – WEBINAR: The importance of SGLT2 inhibitors & GLP-1 analogues in the management of type 2 diabetes and cardio-renal disease

The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute at University College London is hosting a webinar to discuss & debate SGLT2 inhibitors & GLP-1 analogues in the management of Diabetes & Cardio-Renal disease.

Recognising the importance of informing clinical trainees early in their careers, this is one of a series of meetings created to address this need. Trainees (SpR’s) in the specialities of Cardiology, Nephrology and Diabetes are invited to attend this webinar with leaders in all three fields presenting specific to the topic area in a clinical setting.

To attend, all interested trainees simply need to register their interest and join us on FRIDAY the 19th MARCH, 2021 from 10am -12pm (GMT) for the webinar which should last approximately 2 hours. THERE IS NO CHARGE TO ATTEND.

Please register for the webinar here:

https://ucl.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAtde-trToiEtRPj91GyS2xOzwN05ukUgkD


Webinar Chairpersons:
Professors Derek Yellon, John Cunningham & Stephanie Baldeweg

PROGRAMME:

1. Management of type 2 diabetes – out with the old & in with the new!
Professor Stephanie Baldeweg
University College London, UK

2. New anti-diabetic therapy – their role in renal protection.
Professor David Wheeler, UK
The Royal Free Hospital, University College London

3. The GLP-1 analogues – their role in obesity.
Professor John Wilding
University of Liverpool, UK

4. SGLT2 inhibitors – their role in heart failure.
Professor Theresa McDonagh
Kings College, London, UK

5. SGLT2 inhibitors & GLP-1 analogues – do we understand the mechanisms?
Dr Robert Bell
The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute, University College London, UK

Short concluding responses from SpR’s in Cardiology, Nephrology and Diabetes:
Dr Sarah Qian – SpR in Diabetes
Dr Ali Rauf – SpR in Cardiology
Dr Tamer Rezk – SpR in Nephrology

February 4th, 2021 – Hatter Cardiovascular Institute COVID-19 Research Study Expands Globally

Following approval in April 2020, The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute (HCI) has been undertaking a study in COVID-19 investigating the potential for Remote Conditioning (RIC) to reduce the severity of anti-inflammatory cytokines which are responsible for the so-called cytokine “storm” that occurs in COVID-19 patients. The study, titled ‘Can Remote Ischaemic Conditioning Reduce Inflammatory Markers in COVID-19 Patients – A   Randomised Pilot Study,’ was initially approved at University College London Hospitals but has since been expanded to two additional sites in the UK, the Royal Free Hospital (London) and the Lister Hospital (Stevenage).

In further development, the HCI has forged strong collaborations with two leading teams in South Africa and Brazil to investigate in parallel the use of RIC in COVID-19 patients in their populations. Prof Andrei Sposito is the study lead at the University of Campinas, Brazil and Prof Mpiko Mpiko Ntsekhe is heading up the study at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

 Both South Africa and Brazil find themselves in the similar situation as the UK with extremely high cases of COVID-19 and subsequent deaths. It is the hope of all three study teams that by combining data from our shared protocols, we can develop a new method to reduce the heightened inflammatory response and halt the progression of COVID-19 in patients and reduce the severity of damage, with the ultimate aim of preventing deterioration of patients into intensive care.

February 2nd, 2021 – New CAR T Cell Therapy Study Initiated to Investigate Cardiovascular Outcomes

A new study to investigate the cardiovascular outcomes of patients receiving CAR (CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptor) T cell therapy for the treatment of relapsing or refractory (not responsive to other treatments) blood cancers is now underway at The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute.

CAR T cells are a novel therapy for relapsing or refractory blood cancers, which have delivered a significant improvement in the rates of complete and partial cancer remission. However, they are associated with toxicities, with some of early evidence suggestive of cardiovascular involvement. Despite this, the full extent of cardiovascular toxicity is poorly understood.

This research study, led by Dr Daniel Chen, Prof Malcolm Walker and Prof Derek Yellon, seeks to understand the cardiac safety of CAR T cells in patients who receive this therapy as part of standard care for relapsed/refractory B-cell blood cancer. Patients will be assessed for cardiovascular risk factors using blood biomarkers and cardiovascular imaging such as echocardiographs and MRI. The aim is to be able to accurately predict the patient cohort most at risk of cardiovascular toxicity and define the cardiac safety of CAR T cell therapies.

The study is now active and recruitment will occur over the next 12 months in collaboration with University College London Hospitals Macmillan Cancer Centre. Cardio-Oncology is a rapidly emerging and increasingly important field of medicine and this study will contribute further knowledge to the cardiac care of cancer patients.