This week Andrew Gwynne MP showed his support for UK medical research by joining British Heart Foundation (BHF) scientists and heart patients to hear how research is helping to save and improve the lives of the millions of people affected by heart disease.
At an event in Westminster, Mr Gwynne spoke with heart patients and BHF-funded researchers to learn more about the latest research projects, the hope they offer to people with heart conditions and why government support is vital.
There are an estimated 10,760 people in Denton, Audenshaw and Reddish living with heart and circulatory disease, and seven million people across the UK. It causes a quarter of all deaths in the UK.
The BHF is the largest independent funder of cardiovascular research and spends around £100 million every year on world class research to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. The charity sector is by far the largest funder of life sciences research in our universities and every year the Government contributes £198 million towards the indirect costs, such as heating and electricity in laboratories, of charity-funded research. But this figure falls short of covering all the costs of undertaking life saving research.
The government’s science budget is currently protected from cuts to expenditure but only until April 2016. Any cut to science spending would put future and current research projects that could help save more lives at serious risk.
The BHF is calling on the Government to maintain the current ring-fencing of the science budget and to commit to future increases.
Andrew Gwynne MP said:
“Heart disease is a devastating condition that affects thousands of people across my constituency.
“But with the public’s support, charities like the BHF are able to fund some of the world’s leading researchers, who work tirelessly to find the next major breakthrough that could help save more lives.
“If we are to continue making great strides in heart research both the public, including people in Denton and Reddish, and the Government need to support our brightest scientists.”
Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the BHF, said:
“Any cut to science funding would be extremely damaging to our life saving research and the fight against heart disease.
“Through our research we’ve helped make great progress over the last 50 years to reduce the number of deaths from heart disease by more than 50 per cent and improve the lives of people living with it.
“This year alone our researchers have developed a highly sensitive blood test that could double the detection rate of heart attacks in women. And recently our researchers have improved our understanding of how we may be able to regenerate the heart after a heart attack bringing hope that one day there will be a treatment for severe heart failure.
“Much more research is needed if we are to continue helping the millions of families across the UK deeply affected by heart disease, and this can’t be done without strong Government support.
“The Government urgently needs to secure the future of medical research by maintaining the current ring-fence and committing to future increases.”