British Heart Foundation pledges £500m for research
A leading charity has pledged to pour hundreds of millions of pounds into heart disease research over the next five years.
The British Heart Foundation launched a new strategy with the aim of providing more than £500 million to support studies of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
It follows an independent analysis pointing to a big disparity between the amount spent on investigating heart disease and the condition's impact in the UK.
New figures from the charity show that 1.7 million cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes, were reported in the UK in 2013/14 - a 10% rise on a decade earlier.
Yet heart disease attracted only 9% of medical research funding. For every £10 that CVD cost the UK healthcare system, just 12p was spent looking for new preventions and treatments, said the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
More than seven million people in the UK are living with cardiovascular disease, which affects the heart and arteries and is responsible for more than a quarter of deaths.
BHF medical director Professor Peter Weissberg said: " Research has provided the health service with the tests and treatments used every day to tackle heart disease. That progress, powered by BHF-funded research, has meant deaths from cardiovascular disease have more than halved in the UK since the BHF was founded.
"Despite this there are still seven million people in the UK living with cardiovascular disease, which blights their daily lives and makes them fearful for the future. And it is only through research that we can hope to reduce this burden.
"This new analysis of research funding is a stark reminder of the importance of the BHF in fighting cardiovascular disease.
"Our new research strategy outlines how over half a billion pounds will be spent over the next five years but progress will only continue with support from the public, the sustained financial input from the Government and close collaboration between all medical research funders."
The charity, founded in 1961, said keeping its promise to deliver more funding depended on the generosity of ordinary people in the UK since it relies on public donations.