Posted 23 October 2023

The heart of it
Associate Professor Jon Oakhill

Associate Professor Jon Oakhill has been awarded a Heart Foundation Vanguard grant to test a potential new drug treatment for heart disease.

Atherosclerosis, a disease in which arteries become blocked by plaques which rupture and release blood clots into the blood stream, is a common cause of heart attack and stroke.

Jon and his team will test whether a drug which targets a specific protein called AMPK, can reverse atherosclerosis.

Jon, a world leading expert on AMPK, says the enzyme has already shown promise.

“Drugs that target AMPK activation have been successful in preventing the formation of artery plaques,” says Jon. “But we don’t now yet if it can also be used to actually reverse the disease.”

With atherosclerosis contributing to around 25% of all deaths from heart attack, new treatment options are desperately needed.

“This project represents the next key stage in testing a promising drug with potential to treat atherosclerosis, an underlying cause of cardiovascular disease.”