Heart Research Australia funds and supports first-stage, innovative research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease - Australia's biggest killer. Every day, 120 Australians will lose someone they love to heart disease. Cardiovascular disease does not discriminate: it claims the lives of four times as many women as breast cancer and three times as many men as prostate cancer. [Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Australia’s Health 2012]. With the increasing rate of diabetes and obesity in the Australian community, it is predicted that deaths from heart disease will rise further still, making the need for medical breakthroughs even more urgent.
This type of research does not receive statutory funding, but relies entirely on the financial support of the community, individuals, trusts and foundations, corporate organisations and fundraising campaigns.
Heart Research Australia’s funding enables researchers to test innovative ideas derived from their experiences as cardiologists, thereby contributing to pioneering advances in the fight against heart disease. The charity’s goal is to reduce the devastating impact heart disease has on families and communities across Australia.
ICAP Sydney’s donation has been put towards life-saving innovative heart disease research projects currently supported by Heart Research Australia. Heart Research Australia funds researchers at all stages in their careers, such as Dr Paul Bonnitcha (pictured above). Paul is one of the organisation’s most talented early career researchers. Paul is a radiation oncology registrar at RPA Hospital and Sydney Medical School Foundation Fellow based at Royal North Shore Hospital.
Thanks to ICAP Sydney’s donation, investment in the next generation of heart researchers is bringing Heart Research Australia closer than ever to its goal of a world without heart disease.
Heart Research Australia nurture young scientists like Paul, who are committed to a heart research career and assist them in the transition from mentored trainee to independent investigator. Through the charity’s continued support of career progression, it guarantees research successes will continue well into the future by backing the researchers of tomorrow.
A donation from ICAP Charity Day 2015 in Sydney is helping to fund Dr Bonnitcha’s research into using MRI to identify arteries at risk of blockage. Recent findings indicate that plaque instability may be related to low oxygen levels within them, so a key aim of Dr Bonnitcha’s research is to develop ways to detect these vulnerable plaques. Over the past six months Dr Bonnitcha and his team have been able to develop a number of new contrasting agents which show potential for this. Contrasting agents are used in MRI scans to make abnormalities more clearly visible. Over the next year the team’s work will be based around fine-tuning these agents and progressing towards testing the most promising in clinical models.