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Research grants top $74 million on World Heart Day

The Heart Foundation today announced $3.7 million dollars of funding for heart research and specialist training for New Zealand cardiologists, bringing the total awarded by the charity since its formation in 1968, to more than $74 million dollars.

Heart Foundation Medical Director, Dr Gerry Devlin, is delighted to be able to announce such a huge investment in life-saving heart research on World Heart Day.

“We’re especially proud to make these announcements on World Heart Day and, with the support of Sky City, to be able to light Auckland’s Sky Tower red this evening, joining with our global heart community, and paying tribute to all who have lost a loved one to heart disease.”

“Heart disease is New Zealand’s biggest killer. With our ongoing commitment to supporting research, we can keep saving lives and improve the quality of life for the 180,000 New Zealanders living with heart disease.”

“We’ve come a long way, with a 75 per cent reduction in deaths from heart disease since we started our work. But heart disease still claims over 6,000 lives in New Zealand each year and one preventable death is one too many. Heart disease also impacts significantly on the day to day activities of Kiwis.”

This year the Heart Foundation has awarded 36 research grants across the bench-to-bedside spectrum, including new treatments, structural interventions and prevention.

Dr Phil Adamson, Heart Foundation Senior Fellow, will lead a team of Kiwi researchers trying to find out how long to give blood-thinning treatments to heart attack survivors.

Dr Steve Waqanivavalagi receives a Postgraduate Scholarship to continue his work engineering tissue heart valves in the lab to help make the valves last a patient’s lifetime.

Dr Helen Eyles, has been awarded a Heart Foundation Senior Fellowship and Project Grant to come up with real-world solutions to improve the diets in our children and tamariki.

Other research will tackle issues such as improving New Zealander’s nutrition, the Heart Foundation’s ongoing support with the development of a Rheumatic Fever vaccine and identifying early kidney damage after heart failure.

The awards include 1 Programme Grant, 7 Project Grants, 12 Fellowships and Scholarships, 4 Small Project Grants, 2 Grant-in-Aid Grants and 5 Travel Grants. Five Summer Studentships were also awarded to the Medical Schools at the University of Auckland and the University of Otago.

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