£1.25 million grant for Manchester cardiovascular research team
A team at the National Institute for Health Research's
Manchester Biomedical Research Centre investigating the role of a
heart gene in high blood pressure has been awarded a five-year,
£1.25 million Medical Research Council grant.
Led by Prof Ludwig Neyses with
co-investigators Dr Elizabeth Cartwright, Dr Clare Austin and Dr
Ming Lei from The University of Manchester's School of Biomedicine,
the team is focusing on PCMA1, a pump protein which pumps calcium
out of heart and vessel cells.
In several large human genetic studies, PMCA1 has been shown to
be by far the strongest gene determining blood pressure and
therefore is of primary medical importance, but the underlying
mechanisms are unknown.
The aim of the Medical Research Council project is to determine
how PMCA1 changes blood pressure as well as how it influences heart
failure, a frequent consequence of high blood pressure. The
eventual goal is to develop a better treatment for both
"We believe we are the first group in the world to be focusing
specifically on PMCA1-mediated calcium pump mechanisms in these
diseases. The Medical Research Council funding will enable us to
carry out further lab work over the next five years, followed by
translational studies in patients," explained Prof Neyses, who is
Professor of Medicine/Cardiology at The University of Manchester
and the Biomedical Research Centre.
"The success rate for winning Medical Research Council awards is
around 15%, so our team is extremely pleased, particularly as the
grant has exceeded the usual £1 million threshold for individual or
groups awards in the laboratory sciences. Given the current
climate of cut-backs, it's a very positive endorsement of the
Biomedical Research Centre's work and shows that tenacious
researchers can still get funding for good projects with clear
The Manchester team is collaborating with groups in Italy,
Germany, the United States and Norway, plus colleagues at Glasgow
University's Cardiovascular Unit on the calcium pump study.