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Heart Foundation joins forces with international research funding group to improve global heart health

Leading cardiovascular research funders, including the Heart Foundation, have joined forces in a new partnership to accelerate the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the world’s biggest killers, heart disease and stroke.

The new Global Cardiovascular Research Funders Forum (GCRFF) unites 11 leading independent international organisations to coordinate funding for global clinical trials and promote international research efforts in heart, stroke and circulatory diseases.

Globally, cardiovascular diseases kill 19 million people each year and around 550 million people are living with the conditions. They are the biggest cause of death and disability globally. 

Initially, members will share information on research funding priorities, strategic priorities and clinical trials to advance global heart health.

A sub-group has also been formed to facilitate the coordination of international clinical trials which will help researchers in different countries to collaborate on plans and coordinate funding applications for global clinical trials that might not be feasible in a single country or with support from a single funder. 

The initiative could see trials delivered faster, with more generalisable results and make them more affordable for national research funders. Ultimately, this could lead to findings that save and improve the lives of millions of people across the globe.

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. 

"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. By acting as one, we aim to accelerate the pace of research progress to save and improve lives worldwide."

Heart Foundation Medical Director, Gerry Devlin sees the new initiative as an exciting opportunity for researchers of heart disease in Aotearoa New Zealand.

"In collaboration with international colleagues we’ll be able to plan ambitious, practice-changing clinical trials and allow individual research funders to feedback into the trial design early, before the trial has already started," he says, "This will reduce the risk to the funders because there’s greater assurance that the trial will be deliverable, and costs are spread."

The Forum includes many of the biggest independent funders of cardiovascular research in the world, who together support more than US$600 million in research annually.

In addition to the Heart Foundation’s involvement, the other 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 Association of Canada
  • The Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health, Canada
  • The National Heart Foundation of Australia
  • The Swedish Heart & Lung Foundation

Read more about the Global Cardiovascular Research Funders Forum and its multinational clinical trial initiative.