Leicester research team receives 25k to continue investigations into rare disease

A team of scientists and clinicians from the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (formerly Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit) have received a cheque for £25,000 to continue its ground breaking research into the cardiovascular disease, Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD).

SCAD is a rare and unpredictable event resulting from a bruise forming in the wall of a coronary artery. This leads to a sudden, unexpected heart attack. The condition can affect all ages and both sexes, but predominantly afflicts young otherwise fit women, sometimes around the time of pregnancy. Sadly some cases of SCAD are fatal.

Becks Breslin, 36, who experienced a SCAD in March 2012, prompted the UK’s first scientific study into the condition. Becks used internet forums and social media to connect with other patients who had survived a SCAD and she approached Dr David Adlam of the Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit (LCBRU), now part of the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), where together they established the first UK study of SCAD patients.

Becks and a group of patients established the Beat SCAD charity to raise awareness of SCAD, support SCAD patients and raise funds for research into the condition. Highlights have included walks, cake sales and an annual conference attended by over 100 SCAD-survivors and their families, plus numerous individual and team challenges completed by patients, family members, friends and work colleagues.

Becks said: “The SCAD community possesses an incredible strength and great determination to support one another and work towards finding answers about SCAD. The Beat SCAD Trustees are extremely happy to present this donation to the Leicester team on behalf of the SCAD community who have been working incredibly hard to fundraise.”

Dr Adlam said: “On behalf of the research team at Leicester’s Hospitals and the University of Leicester, I would like to thank Becks and everyone at the BeatSCAD charity for their support and hard work in raising the funds to continue with this important area of research.”

Since the study’s inception in 2015, more than 500 patients have signed up to the registry. The results of the study will have a major impact on understanding this rare but devastating condition.