“It is a beautiful protein. Elafin has a neutralising effect and a very destructive effect on enzymes, which break down other proteins and are central to the initial inflammatory response in many diseases.
“It seems not only to be able to neutralise the effects but it has an effect of directly removing or killing off bacteria.
“What I want to do as a cardiologist is bolster the concentrations of elafin in an organ which doesn’t produce elafin naturally, and that is the heart.
“There is a huge amount of pre-clinical data suggesting that elafin is effective in reducing the size of heart attacks and then reducing problems in the arterial wall, which may occur during treatment for arterial disease.
“During bypass surgery the heart is paused or stopped purposely so that the surgeon can conduct the surgery and during that period blood flow is interrupted to the heart muscle. So what we have here is something that is a controlled and safer version of what happens during a heart attack.
“If we can have proof of principle here that there is an effect, that would pave the way to further studies.”