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International funders work hand in hand to improve global heart health
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International funders work hand in hand to improve global heart health

Media Release - 22 June 2021

The Heart Foundation is joining forces with 10 international cardiovascular research bodies to advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the world’s biggest killers, including heart attack and stroke. 

The Global Cardiovascular Research Funders Forum has been founded by 11 leading research funders from across Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The new Forum aims to accelerate the pace of progress by creating opportunities for cross-border coordination and collaboration between world-leading cardiovascular researchers and organisations.

The Heart Foundation is accepting expressions of interest from Australian clinical researchers who are seeking support to conduct multinational cardiovascular trials.

The initiative could see trials delivered faster, with greater data-sharing and more generalisable results. Trials should also become more affordable for national research funders.  Ultimately the partnership could lead to findings that save and improve the lives of people throughout the world.
The founding members are:

  • The American Heart Association

  • The British Heart Foundation

  • The Danish Heart Foundation

  • The Dutch Heart Foundation

  • The German Centre for Cardiovascular Research,

  • The Leducq Foundation

  • The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

  • The Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canada

  • The National Heart Foundation of Australia

  • The National Heart Foundation of New Zealand

  • The Swedish Heart Lung Foundation

The Forum includes many of the biggest independent funders of cardiovascular research in the world, who together support more than $800 million in research annually.

Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, kill 19 million people each year worldwide and around 550 million people are living with them. They are the biggest cause of death and disability globally.

In 2019, 18,244 Australians died of coronary heart disease. This is an average of 50 deaths every day, or one death every 29 minutes. Coronary heart disease accounts for one in nine of all deaths in Australia.

The Forum’s collective mission is to “advance global cardiovascular health by catalysing, supporting and promoting transformational international research efforts in heart, stroke and circulatory diseases.”

The Forum will initially collaborate by sharing information on research funding priorities, strategic initiatives and clinical trials.

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chair of the Global Cardiovascular Research Funders Forum and Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation said: "Despite the astonishing progress that research has made in recent decades, heart disease remains the world’s biggest killer. Today 35 people will die every minute from a heart and circulatory disease.

“Putting an end to the suffering caused by these diseases requires an immense international effort. By coming together as the world’s leading funders in cardiovascular science, we can coordinate our research efforts and set a clear international agenda for cardiovascular science.

Heart Foundation Group CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly, said the partnership would connect the best cardiovascular expertise from around the world.

“It brings together some of the biggest non-government funders of heart research in the world.  Individually, we have funded research that has led to many breakthroughs in the prevention and treatment of heart disease.

“Researchers often need to work with very large amounts of data. This partnership will provide the scale that is needed to deliver reliable evidence. It will help researchers and organisations in different countries collaborate more effectively and plan ambitious, practice-changing clinical trials.

“It has the potential to improve the lives of half a billion people currently living with cardiovascular disease worldwide, and to save millions of lives in the future.”

In Australia, the Heart Foundation is investing $60 million in cardiovascular research in the next three years.

The Heart Foundation is part of a sub-group that will coordinate proposals from researchers.  Australian clinical researchers interested in establishing new multinational clinical trials are invited to submit an expression of interest. Details can be found on the heart foundation website: heartfoundation.org.au/conditions/global-cardiovascular-research-funders-forum 

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