Cardiometabolic Disease

An artistic image representing the Cardiometabolic research theme.

The Cardiometabolic theme looks to address the challenge of heart failure in people with diabetes and its precursors.


Diabetes affects over 4.9 million people in the UK, with an additional 13.6 million at risk of developing the disease. For those with diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and disability. Factors like obesity and high blood pressure increase this risk even further.

Each year, the cost of treating CVD is estimated at £7.4 billion, while diabetes care consumes around 10% of the NHS budget, approximately £1.7 billion. Clearly, our research is crucial not only for patient health but also for the economy.

Our Cardiometabolic theme aims to:

  • Optimise the use of existing therapies to provide maximum benefits to high-risk patients.
  • Accelerate the development of new diagnostic tools and treatment options.

This research is especially significant for the NIHR Leeds BRC, as younger people in the North of England are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease compared to those in the South.

An image of David Beech from the shoulders up dressed professionally against a white background

Theme Lead: Prof David Beech

WS1: Imaging

WS2: Antiplatelet & anticoagulant therapy

WS3: Translation of molecular understanding

An image of the leads for WS1 with Eylem Levelt on the left and Sven Plein on the right.

Leads: Prof Eylem Levelt & Prof Sven Plein

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We will leverage our expertise in cardiac imaging to identify the most at-risk patient groups, such as those with heart disease and diabetes, and determine the most effective therapies for each individual.

Our approach includes using existing innovations and developing new methods to examine heart structure, blood flow, energetics, inflammation, fibrosis, and contractile function. This will help us better understand these diseases and how they respond to different treatments.

This work will benefit patients and the NHS by improving clinical focus on those most likely to benefit from available therapies and minimizing the risk of side effects.

An image of Robert Airns dressed professionally against a white background

Lead: Prof Robert Ariëns

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Blood clotting (thrombosis) is a major factor in heart disease and its complications, such as stroke.

We will study how and why clots form, their composition and stability, their interactions with heart tissue and blood components like platelets and coagulants, and how they respond to therapies.

This research aims to optimise anti-platelet and anti-coagulant therapies and guide decisions on when to stop therapy. This will help reduce bleeding problems and avoid unnecessary treatments.

In the long term, we aim to develop new methods to detect disease and identify early treatment targets. This will address unmet needs in thrombosis and bleeding for patients with heart failure and diabetes.

An image of Mark Kearney in professional wear against a white background

Lead: Prof Mark Kearney

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Using findings from our leading laboratory scientists we will explore new potential therapies arising from our drug discovery programme.

We will investigate why some patients are resistant to current treatments like calcium channel blockers which will be the focus of our analysis.

Our work will reveal new features of heart failure-diabetes patients and inform diagnosis and intervention to benefit them.