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Leading Heart Researchers Plan National Group

17 October 2006

Leading Heart Researchers Plan National Group

Leading scientists and clinicians engaged in cardiac research in NZ are gathering in Christchurch on Wednesday October 18 to discuss the setting up of a national collaborative heart research group. The all day seminar involving 45 researchers is at The Chateau on the Park, Deans Avenue, Christchurch.

The National Research Centre for Heart Health (NRCHH) will bring together key heart researchers to enhance NZ’s research capabilities and improve translation to health care in hospitals and the community. The Centre would not be a stand alone unit, in one location, but will link with other clinicians and scientists performing leading edge heart research in Auckland, Hamilton and Dunedin.

The expertise present at this meeting will cover the research spectrum from scientists defining the role of gene variation as an underlying factor in heart disease, through to biochemists and bioengineers who explore changes within heart cells, to those with knowledge of the structure and function of the heart and blood vessels, and clinicians/scientists who share bedside and outpatient care of patients with heart disease.

Professor Richards from the University of Otago's Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences says New Zealand cardiovascular research already has a world-wide reputation, despite our size, particularly in the area of heart hormones as bio-markers for
diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and heart failure.

The 40 person Christchurch Cardioendocrine Research Group, led by Professor Richards, has been instrumental in carrying out ground- breaking research in this area over the last decade.

Its clinically-driven studies into the significance of hormones secreted by the heart, have resulted in major improvements in treatment for heart failure internationally and the use of
Christchurch-designed tests to measure blood hormone levels both in Europe and North America. This has improved cardiac treatment for hundreds of thousands of people every year.

The National Research Centre for Heart Health aims to apply for funding under the Government's Centre for Research Excellence (CoRE)


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