News and Events

Heart Jab Breakthrough by UCC Researchers

11 Jun 2011

Heart attack victims could have their damaged hearts repaired by a single injection, which was developed by UCC researchers. The world-leading research by two UCC Professors could improve the quality and length of lives of people who have suffered heart attacks.

UCC Professor, Noel Caplice, Chair of Cardiovascular Science and Professor Rosemary O’Connor, Department of Biochemistry, have developed a single dose of insulin-like growth factor which is injected into the heart to repair damage to the muscle.  Around 15% of people who suffer heart attacks have severe ongoing difficulties because of lasting damage to the heart muscle. This often results in patients suffering further attacks and can ultimately cause heart failure.

The growth factor has been successfully tested on animals and a clinical trial on patients is expected to start in August.  Within three years it could be widely available to patients. Professor Caplice said: “The big thing here is that this is world-leading research taking place here in Cork.  The research has been recognised and won a top award in America and if the trials are successful it will ultimately improve the quality and length of life of a patient who has suffered a heart attack. It will also be financially beneficial to the health service by removing ongoing care costs.” After the injection, which would need to be delivered within 12 hours of a heart attack, the muscle can return to near normal levels within two months.

Professor Caplice was in Dublin earlier this week to collect a €1m funding grant under the Translational Research Award programme, run by the Health Research Board and Science Foundation Ireland. “This is a big vote of confidence in the project,” he said.

Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock, who attended the awards, said: “The focus is on bringing scientific researchers and clinicians closer together to deliver health benefits to patients. This can be achieved by converting research findings into innovative strategies, products or services.”

Article courtesy of Ronan Bagnall, Evening Echo

Picture:  Professor Noel Caplice

Cancer Biology at UCC