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New treatment hope for diabetes and CVD


A cutting-edge research project at the University of Leicester is aiming to improve the treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Figures show that cardiovascular diseases remain the number one killer in Western countries, particularly heart attacks, and most recently a warning has been issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) that Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, will increase by as much as 80% in some regions throughout the world in the near future.

A PhD student with the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, Hussein Rubaiy, has uncovered new information from his study, which has the potential to contribute to the design of novel and more effective drugs for the treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, e.g. high blood pressure and heart attack.

In his study, Rubaiy analysed the mechanisms of a cardiac potassium channel and its component parts, which play an important role in such vital processes as heart rhythm and tissue protection. His work has thrown more light on how the channel works and how information from drug interaction is converted into modified function.

Rubaiy said: “This research provides important foundations of understanding on which to build future research and development of more targeted drug design. I am very optimistic that my detailed findings will find application in the pharmaceutical industry in the design or improvement of drugs for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.”

Dr Bob Norman, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, added: “Modulation of the properties of the channel has wider potential as a target for therapies to protect tissues from damage resulting from low blood flow, as in heart attack or cardiac surgery, and possibly as a treatment for high blood pressure. Hussein Rubaiy’s findings add significantly to our understanding of how these channels work and hopefully should contribute in the future to the more rational design of drugs to modify the properties of this important drug target.”

This research is being presented at the Festival of Postgraduate Research on Thursday, 16 June. The annual one-day exhibition of postgraduate research offers organisations and the public the opportunity to meet the next generation of innovators and cutting-edge researchers. More than 50 University of Leicester students will explain the real world implications of their research in an engaging and accessible way. The event is open to the public and free to attend. More information here.

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