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The British Heart Foundation award aims to help researchers rewrite DNA, in “defining moment” for cardiovascular medicine.

Professor Hugh Watkins wins £30 million research award to cure killer heart diseases

An injectable cure for inherited heart muscle conditions that can kill young people in the prime of their lives could be available within a few years, after an international team of researchers, led by Oxford University’s Professor Hugh Watkins and Harvard University’s Professor Christine Seideman, were announced as the winners of the British Heart Foundation’s Big Beat Challenge.

The global award, at £30m, is one of the largest non-commercial grants ever given and presents a “once in a generation opportunity” to provide hope for families struck by these killer diseases.

The winning team, CureHeart, will seek to develop the first cures for inherited heart muscle diseases by pioneering revolutionary and ultra-precise gene therapy technologies that could edit or silence the faulty genes that cause these deadly conditions.

'The £30 million from the BHF’s Big Beat Challenge will give us the platform to turbo-charge our progress in finding a cure so the next generation of children diagnosed with genetic cardiomyopathies can live long, happy and productive lives,' said Professor Watkins, who is the British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Oxford University Radcliffe Department of Medicine.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website. 

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Global Health research at Oxford University and its partners is broad reaching, bringing significant impact across all academic disciplines of medicine, the physical and life sciences, social sciences and humanities. The Diagnostics in Tropical and Infectious Disease (DiTi) award aims to strengthen the long-term partnership between Oxford University and Mahidol University by establishing partnerships and supporting collaborative projects around the priority areas of novel diagnostics tools targeting development of the tropical healthcare setting. Read this interview from award winner Dr Chris Chew.