New treatments for stroke, hypertension and heart disease under microscope

Potential new ways of treating people suffering from high blood pressure, stoke and heart disease, will be highlighted at a major international gathering of pharmacologists in London.

The annual British Pharmacological Society (BPS) Winter Meeting (Tuesday 14 to Thursday 16 December) will attract around 800 scientists – many carrying out exciting and cutting-edge work in the UK and Europe. The meeting includes a selection of topical symposia, lectures and poster sessions, which cover the many aspects of pharmacology from basic science to more applied clinical research. The popular annual event kicks off with sessions focusing on new techniques being used to develop potential ‘breakthrough’ drugs to treat hypertension and stroke.

On Tuesday 14 December, the BPS Women in Pharmacology committee will welcome Professor Sue Brain from Kings College London, who will be providing inspiration to others during a lecture focusing on how she has stayed motivated and inspired during her successful career.

 On Wednesday 15, the industry’s growing engagement with ethical issues – as well as scientific processes - will continue, when the evaluation of medicines in children and the practicalities of neonatal pharmacology will be explored. The question of how pharmacologists should best assess medicines for babies and children is one of growing importance, as their physiology is different from adults and adolescents, and they cannot simply be deemed ‘small adults’. On the same day there will be debate around emerging targets for treating one of society’s big issues - obesity - and the challenges these targets present for those involved in pharmacological research and development.

On Thursday 16 the importance of ‘transporters’ in drug discovery – and the ultimate failure of promising drugs following success in the laboratory – will be examined. Compounds that are highly potent and selective in the test tube can be useless in practice because they are transported out of cells so fast. Minimising susceptibility to transporters can be as important in drug discovery as maximising potency and selectivity.

The intriguing role mathematics and bioinformatics has to play in treating lung and heart disease – which could help reduce the use of animals in research and development – will also feature on the final day of the Winter Meeting.

 During the event the BPS will be demonstrating its on-going support for under-represented elements of the scientific community – an investment that is now seeing vibrant, enthusiastic and successful groups emerging.

The Young Pharmacologists Committee are also organising an important symposium on lipid mediators in health and disease on Wednesday 15 December, which demonstrates the impact young scientists are having in all areas of pharmacology, from basic research to industry development.

Ray Hill, President of the British Pharmacological Society, said: “We believe that our annual Winter Meeting is the most attractive joint pharmacology and clinical pharmacology meeting in Europe, as shown by the large number of submissions it attracts from around the world.”

The BPS Winter Meeting is being held at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London.

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