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Scientists at a university have been awarded GBP2.8 million to develop a new drug that could ease the suffering of hundreds of thousands of heart disease patients unable to take beta-blockers.
Charity the Wellcome Trust offered the money to researchers from the University of Nottingham’s schools of biomedical sciences and pharmacy to conduct a three-year study into a modified type of beta-blocker that will treat heart disease and angina without aggravating respiratory problems.
In the UK, 2.6 million people suffer from heart disease, and most are able to have their symptoms effectively managed with beta-blockers – which stop adrenaline from making the heart work too hard.
However, a major side-effect of beta-blockers is that they make the symptoms of asthma and other breathing problems worse. This means about 300,000 patients in the UK who also suffer from respiratory conditions are prevented from taking the drugs.
Leading researcher Dr Jill Baker said: “Once developed, this molecule will cause much less wheezing and shortness of breath, and should be able to be given safely to the hundreds of thousands of patients with both heart and lung diseases. Furthermore, because it will have so few side-effects, it has the potential to become the beta-blocker of choice for all heart patients.”
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