Carving a turn for cardiology research

Coeur Blanc, a skiing challenge fundraising event founded by former King’s College Council member Rory Tapner FKC (Law, 1982)Skiing in the Méribel Valley

[This article is from the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of InTouch, your alumni magazine]

A skiing challenge in France’s Méribel Valley recently raised £192,000 for Professor Mike Marber’s innovative heart attack diagnostic test.

A revolutionary new blood test to help detect heart attacks could have a significant impact on speeding up diagnoses and reducing hospital waiting times. A charity skiing event has helped raise vital funds for the test to be developed further.

The innovative ‘MyC’ blood test, developed by leading cardiologists at King’s, could allow heart attacks to be ruled out in up to 40 per cent more patients, compared with current testing methods.

By speeding up diagnosis, and allowing those not suffering heart attacks to be sent home, NHS accident and emergency (A&E) resources could be freed up to concentrate on those needing immediate treatment.

Mike Marber, Professor of Cardiology at Guy’s and St Thomas’, whose team is behind the research, said: ‘The vast majority of patients coming through the doors with chest pain aren’t having a heart attack. By ruling out those patients, we can ensure that resources are used for those who need them most.’

Mike Marber and team
Professor Mike Marber and some of his research team

Valuable support for healthcare innovation

King’s scientists are committed to a ‘bench to bedside’ approach to research, ensuring that the latest discoveries quickly make a real-world difference in patient care. To bring the transformative ‘MyC’ test into use, a prototype handheld device is being produced to administer the test, both in A&E departments and by paramedics on the ground.

Funding for the crucial next stage in development is not possible through commercial partnerships or the NHS itself, so Professor Marber’s team has turned to philanthropy for support.

A winter marathon for MyC

Being part of the King’s community means help and support is never far away. This year, Coeur Blanc, a skiing challenge fundraising event founded by former King’s College Council member Rory Tapner FKC (Law, 1982) was dedicated to raising money for MyC.

In March, contestants competed in a sponsored skiing marathon to complete every route in France’s Méribel Valley in one day. This meant taking the lift up and skiing downhill on 52 different routes – a total ascent and descent of over 15,000 metres. The challenge raised £192,000 towards the development of MyC’s handheld prototype, significantly over its £150,000 target.

Coeur Blanc organiser Pierre Taylor said: ‘We’re proud to support the Guy’s and St Thomas’ charity to help with Professor Marber’s research. These funds will enable King’s to create a functioning prototype and purchase devices for testing. We want the money raised by Coeur Blanc to make a real impact, and the MyC project has huge potential.’

Fact file:

  • The new test developed by King’s cardiologists analyses the level of cardiac myosin-binding protein C (or MyC for short) in the blood.
  • Current testing methods can take up to 90 minutes to return results. A handheld MyC device will provide instant results, leading to reduced waiting times.
  • Currently up to 85 per cent of people with suspected heart attacks need to remain in hospital for further tests. MyC could allow 40 per cent more patients to be ruled out instantly, freeing up resources for those in need.

You can help support research like this by giving back to King’s.