Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2024

© Asian Media Group - 2024


Prof Jaspal Kooner


PROFESSOR Jaspal Kooner, one of Britain’s most eminent cardiologists, has been trying to find out why Asians are so prone to heart attacks, diabetes and kidney disease – and what he can do to help them. “Compared with the white population, Asians are at two-fold higher risk of cardiovascular disease, three-fold higher risk of diabetes and five-fold higher risk of kidney failure,” said Kooner, who is Professor of Clinical Cardiology at Imperial College London and consultant cardiologist at Hammersmith Hospital.

A Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, he has done over 20,000 heart operations over the last 20 years and trained 200 cardiologists. He was born in Kenya, came to Britain aged 12 in 1968, went into medicine, and was named “Doctor of the Year” across the NHS in 2004. He has been able to pick up his fundamental research which was stalled by the pandemic. His idea is to select 75,00 healthy Asians in the UK, another 200,000 in the subcontinent, follow them over many years and then try and analyse why some develop disease while others manage to escape.

What’s their secret? He believes once he has been able to identify the genetic differences between the two groups, drugs could be developed to help those deemed vulnerable. At Hammersmith Hospital, Kooner can often be found in the operating theatre trying to save the lives of his patients, some in their 30s.

Speaking from outside the theatre, the professor told GG2 Power List: “On the one hand, you’re trying to understand the disease to stop this epidemic at the local, national or international level – this can potentially benefit mil lions of people. On the other hand, you have your patient in front of you and you’ve got to do the best for them. You have an immense

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