"I was an extremely healthy athlete. And then I had a heart attack at 40. We still don't really know why... Why did heart disease come for me? It was completely crushing."
Coming frighteningly close to being struck down in his prime, Matt admits he was the last person he would have expected to have a heart attack.
No one could have predicted that a fit young man like Matt would suffer a devastating heart attack – or that he might never see his partner again or meet the baby boy they were expecting.
Matt was extremely fortunate to survive his heart attack. But with cardiovascular disease (CVD) affecting a staggering 4 million Australians, many are not as lucky.
Advances in our understanding of CVDs like heart attack have transformed treatments, but these aren’t effective for everyone. We need to move beyond the “one size fits all” approach and expand our understanding of how CVD develops and manifests in each individual – paving the way to personalised detection, treatment and ultimately, prevention.
Help save the lives of people like Matt
Drawing on his work in cancer research, Dr Sergey Tumanov is spearheading a groundbreaking study at the Heart Research Institute’s Fluxomics Centre devoted to CVD – the first of its kind in Australia.
“We need to understand the unique cellular changes in each person’s CVD; this effectively creates a ‘chemical fingerprint’ that predicts your likelihood of developing CVD, and developing the most effective treatments for you,” Dr Tumanov explains.
“While current technologies only provide static ‘snapshots’ of a cell at any given time, fluxomics is an innovative research field that shows changes to cells over time. This is particularly important to understanding progressive diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels.”
At the heart of the Fluxomics Centre is a state-of-the-art machine able to detect the building blocks that make up our cells: a mass spectrometer.
Using this mass spectrometer alongside other high-tech lab equipment, Dr Tumanov and his team aim to unlock some of the key mysteries of cardiovascular research. Why do people leading healthy lifestyles get CVD? Why do current treatments work well for some, but not others? Why do women and men develop heart disease in different ways?
Matt hopes research at the Fluxomics Centre will change the course of CVD in Australia, sparing others from the trauma of his experience. He is acutely aware that his family history of heart disease could one day impact his son, Clancy.
“I hope that one day we will better understand heart disease and how all the individual things that make you you and me me play a part. I want Clancy to have all the personalised care and support he may need, should he face anything like this.”
While we have made critical advancements in cardiovascular research, there is still so much do. Your tax-deductible donation today will help fund the mass spectrometer and Fluxomics Centre , making personalised treatment available for each and every heart.