We are very pleased to announce that in late September Beat SCAD awarded almost £50K to the UK research project, with just over £30K transferred to the University of Leicester and the remainder ‘ring-fenced’ for subsequent transfer in accordance with project timelines.
In July we announced that Beat SCAD donated £64K to fund a further year of research for Clinical Research Fellow Dr Alice Wood.
Over the summer, the Beat SCAD Trustees had discussions with Dr David Adlam, Associate Professor of Acute and Interventional Cardiology at the University of Leicester and Honorary Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at University Hospitals Leicester, who is leading the SCAD research project, about further funding needs for the study. As a result of these discussions, Beat SCAD are funding the following:
42 cardiac MRI scans – £23.1K
These scans are being done as part of Dr Wood’s phenotyping study into male and recurrent SCADs. Scans cost £550 each and they allow the researchers to look at the cardiac structure and function. The scan data are provided to Dr Wood in a blinded manner, which means she will not be informed of whether the scan belongs to a SCAD patient or a healthy volunteer. The data will be unblinded further down line for results analysis. This approach aids an unbiased review of the scan images. Dr Wood is also looking at responses to pharmacological stress, to see whether there is any difference in perfusion (the passage of fluid through the circulatory system) in patients with SCAD.
She is also investigating psychological stress as we know that a proportion of SCAD cases happen after psychological stress, and that some SCAD survivors have chest pain when under emotional stress. “I am interested to see both whether SCAD survivors have more marked responses to psychological stress (in terms of blood pressure and heart rate) and also whether this affects myocardial perfusion,” said Dr Wood.
Transcriptomics (analysis of RNA) on skin fibroblasts – £15.6K
Fibroblasts are cells found in connective tissue. Skin biopsies have been taken from 50 SCAD patients and 35 healthy volunteers during the study. The aim of this work is to investigate if there are any differences between the RNA of SCAD patients and healthy volunteers. This will feed into and help further genetics studies into SCAD.
Proteomics – £7.6K
Dr Ania Baranowski has been doing proteomics laboratory work as part of her PhD. This is a study of proteins and looks at blood plasma to identify which proteins are present in SCAD patients’ blood. Dr Baranowski has already looked at one cohort of patients and healthy volunteers and will now study a second cohort of 50 SCAD patients and 50 healthy volunteers to confirm the findings of the first set of results. In order for Dr Baranowski to complete this work we are providing £7.6K for a six-month extension to her PhD.
Laboratory consumables – £3K
We are also providing £3K to fund lab consumables for Dr Baranowski’s work, such as antibodies, gels and reagents required to perform Western blots, which is a technique used to detect specific protein molecules within a mixture of proteins. Dr Baranowski’s work includes looking at proteins associated with the regulation of vascular smooth muscle cells.
These donations take the total amount we have donated to the UK SCAD research project since 2017 to more than £190K! This year’s donations total more than £113K.
Chair of Beat SCAD, Rebecca Breslin, said: “Throughout Beat SCAD’s first five years of operation, the SCAD community has demonstrated an incredible drive to fulfil the charity mission to raise awareness, provide support and fund research. Each year has seen impressive fundraising efforts, which have enabled these important donations to be awarded to Dr Adlam’s research work in Leicester. The impact of these donations is being seen in the publications of research findings, which are steadily being released and are contributing to improved knowledge of SCAD. I extend a heartfelt thank you to all our supporters – the Beat SCAD Trustees appreciate all that you do and we continue to be inspired by you.”
Dr Adlam said: “It has been relatively challenging to get funding outside of Beat SCAD. Without Beat SCAD, things would have come to an end, actually. We would have made some progress but I’m not sure we would have been able to continue at the same level of ongoing research we have. Beat SCAD has been utterly instrumental in allowing us to continue. We appreciate all the hard work of Beat SCAD, your amazing fundraisers, supporters and all the patients, their families and friends.”
Thank you to every single person who has done any fundraising for Beat SCAD – you are making a difference!