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Molecular cardiology

Despite major advances in treatment and prevention, cardiovascular diseases (heart attack, stroke, heart failure) remain major causes of premature death and disability in our community. Our research covers the broad spectrum from basic laboratory to clinical and community studies of new strategies for the prevention and treatment of these important diseases.

Research Themes

The mechanisms of action of new treatments for cardiovascular disease

We discovered that aliskiren, a new treatment for high blood pressure that inhibits the enzyme renin, also increases bradykinin levels in tha heart. We are evaluating the cardiac protection that may result from this effect of aliskiren in rats.

The mechanisms of diseases of heart muscle

Heart attack and heart failure are often a consequence of abnormalities of the blood vessels off the heart muscle and of the heart muscle cells. In collaboration with cardiologists and surgeons at St Vincent's Health we established a cardiac tissue bank. With patient consent, small pieces of heart muscle are taken during open heart surgery. Together with colleagues from Melbourne and Monash universities, we are comparing heart muscle from patients with and without heart attack or heart failure to identify how differences in the blood vessels and heart muscle cells contribute to these conditions. These studies are giving important new insights into why people with obesity and diabetes are more likely to develop heart failure.

Community study of heart failure prevention

The SCREEN-HF study is a community-based investigation to discover whether a blood test (for a protein called NT-proBNP) can identify people at increased risk of heart failure. This study is a collaboration with cardiologists at St Vincent's Health, and Melbourne and Monash Universities. We have recruited 4000 people from the community and measured their blood levels of NT-proBNP. We are now performing echocardiographic tests to assess how well their heart muscle is working, and we will follow-up these individuals over 5 years to see which ones develop heart failure. Identifying people before or at the earliest stages of heart failure will help us ensure they receive currently available treatments for the prevention and treatment of heart failure.

Honours and PhD Projects

Staff

Publication Highlights

  1. Campbell DJ. Clinical relevance of local renin angiotensin systems. Frontiers in Endocrinology (Lausanne) 2014;5:113.
  2. Zhu T, Miller AG, Deliyanti D, Berka DR, Agrotis A, Campbell DJ, Wilkinson-Berka JL. Prorenin stimulates a pro-angiogenic and pro-inflammatory response in retinal endothelial cells and an M1 phenotype in retinal microglia. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology 2015;42:537-548.
  3. Prior DL, Somaratne JB, Jenkins AJ, Yii M, Newcomb AE, Schalkwijk CG, Black MJ, Kelly DJ, Campbell DJ. Calibrated integrated backscatter and myocardial fibrosis in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Open Heart 2015;2:e000278
  4. Boffa U, McGrady M, Reid CM, Shiel L, Wolfe R, Liew D, Campbell DJ, Stewart S, Krum H. SCReening Evaluation of the Evolution of New Heart Failure Study (SCREEN-HF): early detection of chronic heart failure in the workplace. Australian Health Review 2016 Apr 21. doi: 10.1071/AH15107. [Epub ahead of print]
  5. Campbell DJ. The Clinical Utility Curve: a proposal to improve the translation of information provided by prediction models to clinicians. BMC Research Notes 2016;9:219.
  6. Campbell DJ. Therapeutic modulation of tissue kallikrein expression. Biological Chemistry 2016;397:1293-1297.
  7. Campbell DJ. Long-term neprilysin inhibition - implications for ARNIs. Nature Reviews Cardiology 2016 (epub ahead of print).
  8. Campbell DJ. Clinical utility curve assists clinical decision making. Atlas of Science. 2016. http://atlasofscience.org/clinical-utility-curve-assists-clinical-decision-making/
  9. Campbell DJ. Can cardiovascular disease guidelines that advise treatment decisions based on absolute risk be improved? BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2016;16:221.
  10. Roberts V, Campbell DJ, Lu B, Chia J, Cowan PJ, Dwyer KM. The differential effect of apyrase treatment and hCD39 overexpression on chronic renal fibrosis following ischemia reperfusion injury. Transplantation (in press).