Professor Anthony Davenport

Subject: Medicine
Role of apelin and 'orphan' G-protein coupled receptor systems in the human vasculature and their role in cardiovascular disease, novel agents for imaging atherosclerosis.

Function of G-protein coupled receptors in the human cardiovascular system in health and disease.

Repurposing existing medicines and discovery of novel compound blocking entry of SARS-CoV-2 via the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) pathway.
Director of Studies in Preclinical Medicine and Pharmacology
Professor of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Anthony Davenport is Professor of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, University of Cambridge, and was previously British Heart Foundation Principal Scientist and for ten years held a BHF Science Lectureship.  He is a Fellow and active member of the British Pharmacological Society and was previously chair of External Affairs, Trustee, Finance and Executive member.  He is also a Fellow of the Hypertension Society and International Fellow of the American Heart Association.  He is an executive member of the International Union of Pharmacology Committee on Receptor Nomenclature and Drug Classification, that maintains a data base of drugs and their target at, chair of the Endothelin Receptor Sub-committee, member of the International Scientific Advisory Board on Endothelin; editorial board member of Current Opinions in Pharmacology; editor of 'Receptor binding Techniques'. He has held programme grants from the BHF and was co-applicant on three MRC programme grants to establish the multi-imaging facilities at Addenbrooke's Hospital.  He was elected British Pharmacological Society Australasian Visitor in 2014. In 2018, he was named as a Highly Cited Researcher as determined by a citation analysis of Web of Science data. 
One third of all currently used medicines target a family of proteins called G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), that respond to chemical messengers critical for normal signalling between cells but are also altered in many disease processes. New GPCRs have been identified following sequencing of the human genome but their function is not initially known. The aim of my research is to understand the role of GPCRs, together with their transmitters in the human cardiovascular system and how these are altered with disease, to identify new targets for novel drugs.

A second area of research is mapping the expression of proteins by human cells that are hijacked by the SARS-CoV-2 virus to enable entry into the host. The presence of a protein on the cell surface, ACE2 has emerged as being essential for the virus to bind in order to enter the patient’s tissues, such as the lungs and heart. The objective is to test medicines currently in use for other purposes, as well as new compounds, to test if they block entry of SARS-CoV-2 into human cells growing in the laboratory. Since the medicines are already in use, they have the potential to be tested in a clinical trial of patients with the virus, to see if entry is reduced.