Department of Cardiovascular Sciences

John and Lucille van Geest biomarker facility

The John and Lucille van Geest Biomarker facility was established in 2013 thanks to a generous £2.5 million donation from the John and Lucille van Geest Foundation. This initial investment laid the foundation for the establishment of a facility dedicated to the discovery and development of cardiovascular biomarkers.

The support of John and Lucille van Geest foundation has led to the establishment of a state of the art proteomics and metabolomics laboratory, investigating the use of biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic monitoring of cardiovascular disease.

It is one of only a few such laboratories dedicated to cardiovascular research in the UK.

The requirement for biomarkers is especially important in heart failure and in coronary artery disease, where there are difficulties in making the diagnosis in some situations. Furthermore, the laboratory is also investigating the use of novel biomarkers for prognosis of heart failure and heart attacks, so that patients with a likely poor outcome could be selected and targeted for more intensive interventions.

The laboratory is also a major contributor to an FP7 European initiative to detect patients who respond poorly to heart failure therapies (Biostat programme), so that such patients could receive further monitoring.

See the instruments used in the facility


Biomarkers of Diastolic Heart Failure

Heart failure can be caused by failure of the heart as a pump (systolic heart failure) and many advances have been made in the detection and treatment of this condition. However, at least half of heart failure patients have diastolic heart failure (which is caused by decreased distensibility of the heart), for which there are drugs that reduce hospitalisation but not mortality. The conditions which could lead to diastolic heart failure include high blood pressure, diabetes and valve disease (including aortic stenosis), all very prevalent within an ageing population. A major problem is in the diagnosis of diastolic heart failure and useful plasma biomarkers will facilitate the diagnosis. Improving the diagnosis will enable pharmaceutical companies to develop new therapies which may affect patient outcomes. In addition, novel biomarkers will also indicate the disease processes that could be targeted by research for new therapies.

EU FP7 Biostat - Initiative to detect patients who respond poorly to heart failure therapies

The EU FP7 funded BioStat - a systems BIOlogy Study to TAilored Treatment in Chronic Heart Failure - programme is combining genomic and proteomic strategies to discover novel markers of response to therapy in over 4000 heart failure patients samples.

MRC DTG - The role of plasma proteomics toimprove the accuracy of predictions of R2I2 in ICD patients

We aim to use High resolution proteomics to examine the plasma proteome of patients who have received implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) and undergone a determination of a novel risk stratification index (R2I2), to investigate whether plasma proteomics could improve the accuracy of predictions of R2I2, and hence improve the specificity of the method.  This will translate to improved targeting of ICD implantations in patients.

Novel methods for sample preparation for plasma proteomics

About us

The team is a translational group of clinical and non-clinical scientists.

The skills in the groups are diverse including:

  • Clinical pharmacology
  • State-of-the-art analytical chemistry
  • Bioinformatics
  • Statistics

Our overall pipeline revolves around establishing new hypotheses from a priori knowledge or generation of data from non targeted discovery experiments using high resolution analytical techniques (including Liquid Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry).

These hypotheses are tested on large cohorts of patient populations provided from the  archived cohorts or obtained from the NIHR-Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) facility within the Cardiovascular Research Centre (CRVC) at Glenfield Hospital to provide robust data for clinical translation of biomarkers.

The group has strong collaborations within the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences in both basic and translational research. There are also collaborations with several departments within the University (Cancer Studies, Physics and Astronomy and Chemistry). In addition, there are long established collaborations with national and international groups.

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