Heart problems: New drug could stem progress of heart failure

31st May 2011

New research has claimed that a new cancer drug can help to restore the function of the heart en route to failure from high blood pressure.

Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center said that this type of histone deacetylase inhibitor had been shown to reverse the harmful effects of autophagy, which involves cells eating their own proteins to provide resources in times of stress, in heart muscle cells, opening the way for exploration into new therapeutic strategy in hypertensive heart disease.

During the clinical trials researchers engineered mice to have overactive autophagy and induced hypertrophy leading to heart failure. They then gave the mice the drug and found that the heart decreased back to its normal size, restoring hearth function.

Dr Joseph Hill, chief of cardiology at the centre, said: "This is one of those exciting, but rare, examples, where an important finding made originally in yeast moved into mouse models and is soon moving to humans. That's the Holy Grail for a physician-scientist."

Last week it was revealed that a new polypill had been designed which could help to fight heart problems and a number of cancers.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

1. Hill, Joseph. "Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors attenuate cardiac hypertrophy by suppressing autophagy." PNAS. 18TH February 2011.

2. Rodgers, Anthony et al. "An International Randomised Placebo-Controlled Trial of a Four-Component Combination Pill (“Polypill”) in People with Raised Cardiovascular Risk." PLoS One. 25th May 2011.

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