“The Life Scientific” BBC Radio 4, 9 a.m., 3rd November, 2015, featuring Professor Patrick Valance
Jim Al-Khalili: “I guess much of your research has involved this amazing chemical, Nitric Oxide, not to be confused with Nitrous Oxide, laughing gas. Can you tell me about what that chemical is, what it does in the body?”
Professor Valance: “It was an amazing time in the 1980s, when two things happened. The first is that there was a discovery that the lining of the blood vessels, which up until that point had been thought of as an inert layer almost. People realized it was doing something very active, it was controlling how the blood vessels behaved. And then a couple of groups at the same time, one in the UK and one in the US, discovered that the substance being released was a gas, Nitric Oxide. It was really surprising. I mean it’s not a gas, it’s a solution, but fundamentally it is a gas and this controls the underlying blood vessel. …………..It turns out that it is important for the way blood pressure is controlled, it is important for the way the blood vessel system can accommodate fluid, it is important for the way things don’t stick to the blood vessel wall and so highly relevant for everything from high blood pressure right through to heart attack and changes the way we think about the vascular system actually.”
This programme should be available on the BBC website for some time to come. Professor Valance now works for Big Pharma.