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Congratulations to Dr Ashish Misra, who has been awarded a 2023 NSW Health Senior and Early-Mid Career Researcher Grant in the field of cardiovascular research.

Dr Misra, leader of HRI’s Atherosclerosis and Vascular Remodelling Unit, has been awarded a NSW EMCR grant for his project ‘Thickening the cap: a novel NOTCH3 mediated RNA therapy for atherosclerosis’.

Cardiovascular disease is responsible for one in four Australian deaths. Its underlying cause is atherosclerosis.

In atherosclerosis, plaques develop within arteries, become unstable and rupture, resulting in heart attacks and strokes.

“Despite being well known that stable plaques are less likely to rupture, there are currently no cell-based techniques to promote stability of plaques,” said Dr Misra, adding that the “gold standard treatment” for atherosclerosis, lipid lowering drugs like statins, has several limitations.

First, around half of patients do not respond to statins. Second, an inflammatory risk persists and is responsible for the occurrence of life-threatening cardiovascular events.

“As a result, novel cell-based therapies that can promote stability in unstable plaques without adverse effects and reduce risk of rupture are urgently needed.”

Dr Misra’s research project aims to deliver the first proof of concept that unstable plaques can be safely stabilised using lipid nanoparticles (LNPs).

“We also aim to collaborate with industry partners to translate our research findings into new treatments, ultimately benefiting the thousands of people with atherosclerosis and at risk of heart attack and stroke,” Dr Misra added.

“I am very grateful to NSW Health for the support to help propel this research project forward.”

The program funds high quality cardiovascular research in NSW in order to drive scientific discoveries, support the development of novel and innovative therapies, and improve health outcomes for patients with cardiovascular disease.

Congratulations again to Dr Misra and his team.


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