Dr Ninian Lang's new BHF-funded study

Published: 4 February 2020

Dr Ninian Lang has been awarded a grant by the BHF to better understand what causes some cancer patients to develop heart problems as a side effect of their treatment & to help find ways of treating and preventing them.

Modern drugs can be very effective for treating cancer and there have been major recent advances in their development. However, some anti-cancer drugs cause high blood pressure and can impair the pumping activity of the heart, leaving patients at risk of heart failure, heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.

Dr Ninian Lang, based at SCMH, has been awarded a grant of £282,000 from the BHF to better understand what causes these side effects and to help find ways of treating and preventing them. Scientists also hope their studies will identify those patients most at risk and any early warning signs.

Dr Ninian Lang, a cardiologist, who is leading the project explains: “The outlook for cancer patients has improved dramatically over the years. However, the cardiovascular side effects of some treatment options are an increasing concern. We are working closely with colleagues at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre because we want patients with cancer to get the best treatment while minimising unacceptable heart and blood vessel side effects or risks."

“By looking carefully at the heart with a series of detailed scans, including MRI, we will have a better understanding of how often these problems happen. We think that at least some of these problems may be reversible if caught early but we need to know more about how and when they happen. Our research should help doctors to predict which patients are more likely to be affected and to develop better ways of preventing or treating them. There has never been such an optimistic time for anti-cancer treatment as there is now. This means that we need to be really focused on making sure that patients don’t swap a cancer diagnosis for heart and blood vessel complications.”

The project will run over the next three years and will involve regular scanning and monitoring of cancer patients before, during and after treatment.

First published: 4 February 2020

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