Dr Dame Nicola Brewer has stepped down from UCL after 6 years as Vice-Provost (International), during which time she made a tremendous impact on advancing UCL’s profile and engagement across the globe. The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute had been fortunate to work with Dame Nicola over her tenure and was honoured to have her attend our medical educational conferences, At the Limits, both in South Africa. In leaving UCL, she acknowledged the important ethos of our programmes and the benefits which have emerged. Our international education programmes in South Africa, Brazil & Canada have benefited from her backing and we would like to thank her for the support she gave during her tenure at UCL.
The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute is pleased to announce Dr Arjun Ghosh has taken on further roles in the specialised field of Cardio-Oncology. He has recently received his Fellowship of the International Cardio-Oncology Society (FICOS) as well as accepting a nomination to the Board of the Asian Cardio-Oncology Society. Dr Ghosh continues to disseminate his knowledge in this important domain as new co-host of the ICOS podcast on Spotify. We are very proud of his on-going championing of this area and know he will make a positive contribution to all.
The Mancherje-Potash Foundation in California, USA has recently provided substantial funding to support a new study evaluating Remote Ischaemic Conditioning (RIC) in high risk cardiovascular patients, in Africa. This new study, entitled RIC-Africa, will be a collaboration between The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute at UCL & multiple African countries with an aim to improve cardiovascular outcomes in the setting of acute myocardial infarction. It is hoped that the technique of Remote Conditioning could provide a simple, low-cost solution to nations which do not always have access to sophisticated medical care. The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute is grateful for the support of the Mancherje-Potash Foundation and will match this funding, which together, will initiate and support the ongoing study. Professor Derek Yellon, Director of the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute, will be working closely with Professor Mpiko Ntsekhe, Head of Cardiology at the University of Cape Town.
By way of further information, The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute has, over the last 30 years, built a strong collaborative relationship with the University of Cape Town which has resulted in many successful studies, publications and educational development platforms, notably their “Cardiology, Diabetes & Nephrology the At the Limits” educational meeting. Professor Yellon has been awarded a DSc by the University of Cape Town and also holds an honorary Professorship in the Department of Medicine.
In the recent issue of the British Heart Foundation publication, The Pulse, Dr Mohammed Shah was highlighted for his contribution to clinical care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Shah is a BHF-funded Clinical Research Fellow completing his PhD at the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute, under the supervision of Prof Yellon, investigating the relevance of inflammation in acute myocardial infarction and sepsis. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck the UK, Dr Shah stopped his research and headed back to clinical duties at East Kent University Hospital where he led a team of junior doctors.
His experience as a cardiologist was beneficial as existing cardiovascular conditions present additional risk to COVID-19 patients and further, his research in inflammation was valuable in the current COVID-19 setting. Dr Shah looks forward to continuing on with his research once the COVID-19 situation begins to stablise and is grateful to the BHF for their continued support at this time.
Read more about Dr Shah’s contribution to the COVID-19 pandemic HERE.
We are pleased to announce the first publication, specific to COVID-19 research by the team at the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute, has now been published. The invited paper entitled “The cytokine storm of COVID-19: a spotlight on prevention and protection” was authored by Dr Lucie Pearce, Prof Sean Davidson and Prof Derek Yellon and published in the recent issue of the journal Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets. (READ PAPER HERE)
In the paper, the authors discuss how the cytokine release syndrome (CRS) of COVID-19 is associated with the development of critical illness requiring multi-organ support. They highlight the need for further research into how best to halt progression of multi-organ injury induced by hyper-inflammation, which leads to endothelial activation and circulatory collapse. They propose that as Remote Ischaemic Conditioning (RIC) reduces the inflammation of sepsis in animal models, this modality should be considered as a low risk intervention, in combination with cardiovascular protection to address CRS of COVID-19.
The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute is currently undertaking a multi-site study to evaluate the benefits of RIC upon early diagnosis of COVID-19 and through its activation of survival pathways, prevent patients from deteriorating to critical care. We are actively working with colleagues in Brazil and South Africa to expand the research programme and better understand the application to populations worldwide.
The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute has recently been given HRA approval to undertake a new study in COVID-19 investigating the potential for Remote Conditioning to reduce the severity of anti-inflammatory cytokines which are responsible 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,’ has been approved as part of the fast-track review scheme provided through UCLH and the National Research Ethics Boards to expedite important COVID-19 research.
Over the past 2 years, The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute has been investigating the role of the inflammatory system as a cause of significant injury during acute myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke. Importantly our research into methods of alleviating this inflammatory response are similar to events that we see in the early stages of the COVID-19 disease, i.e. the cellular mechanisms are similar to those seen in patients with sepsis. The phenomenon known as “Remote Ischemic Conditioning”, which is a simple non-invasive procedure, has been shown to prevent cellular injury including those associated with sepsis. Therefore, based on the evidence from studies investigating sepsis, it is anticipated that the same benefit would be seen in patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
Developing new methods to reduce the heightened inflammatory response is essential to halting progression of COVID-19 in patients and reducing the severity of damage. The aim of this study is to halt, or at least attenuate, the disease process before patients enter the intensive care units when the situation changes dramatically and may be too late.
Earlier this month we were saddened to announce the passing of Sir Maurice Hatter, a great friend and supporter of The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute and UCL itself. In looking back at the nearly 30 years of Sir Maurice’s patronage, it was remarkable what has been achieved thanks to his, generosity and belief in our research work.
With over 200 staff and students passing through the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute since its inception, we have secured major grant funding from leading medical grant awarding bodies such as the British Heart Foundation, Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health Research and the Wellcome Trust. This funding has enabled innovative research, inter-disciplinary collaborations and the development of strong scientific partnerships around the world. This has all culminated in steady progress in the quest to better understand cardiovascular disease and therapies.
Further, with the specific support of the Hatter Foundation, our Institute has in recent years expanded its research platforms to include both Neuroprotection and Cardiotoxicity (Cardioprotection following Chemotherapy). Sir Maurice’s ability to see the value in this important research enabled the foundations of these new programmes to become established. Sir Maurice would have been very proud to know our team is now taking a lead in COVID-19 research by re-focusing our knowledge in immune response in ischaemia to try tackle this worldwide pandemic.
An avid supporter of education around the world, Sir Maurice was a keen advocate of our many educational meeting initiatives which are now active on 4 continents. As a recognised centre of excellence, the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute continues to attract the best of post-graduate and medical students from around the globe. Their hard work and new ideas continue to enrich our learning environment. Maurice always enjoyed visiting the laboratories and meeting the research team; as an engineer himself he was always discussing various technical aspects of the work and equipment that we used.
Looking back over the past 30 years, it is truly remarkable what has been achieved through the generous support of Sir Maurice and his Foundation. His long standing encouragement and belief in the research and education we undertake has allowed the team at the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute to advance knowledge in cardiovascular science significantly. We shall continue our pursuits in his memory.
It is with deep regret that we announce that Sir Maurice Hatter has sadly passed away following a long illness. Sir Maurice was a longstanding supporter of cardiovascular research and under his patronage, we were able to open the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute which proudly bears his name and has been running now for nearly 30 years.
Sir Maurice was an amazing man and a generous supporter of our work at the HCI, his dynamic personality will be greatly missed by so many who held him in the highest regard.
Together with Professor Yellon and Professor Lionel Opie, a second Hatter Cardiovascular Institute was opened at the University of Cape Town which enabled an enriching educational and research collaboration to grow.
All of us at the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute, as well as our many research partners around the world, owe him an immense debt of gratitude for his ongoing support over the last 30 years. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.
Like everyone around the world, the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute (HCI) at UCL is navigating how best to work and stay engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though having to close our laboratories & clinical areas temporarily, and now working remotely, we have established bi-weekly team meetings to continue our research programmes…and importantly to keep in touch with one another while apart! The team has been great discovering new ways to work to continue collaborations and on-going educational programmes.
The Clinical Fellows, Nurses, and Cardiologists at the HCI have all been released from their research programmes to contribute their skills to the immense clinical needs of the NHS at this difficult time. We cannot thank them enough for their dedication and sacrifice in helping to look after the health of the nation.
Despite not being physically together, the team at the HCI are still active in their research pursuits and we hope to be back in our labs continuing our work as soon as possible.
The passing of Professor Lionel Opie last month was a huge loss to the cardiovascular research community. The Lancet has honoured his life and many achievements in its recent publication, read his obituary HERE.