9 February 2016
A new study has shown how a commonly-prescribed diabetes therapy can potentially help the body to recover after a heart attack.
Led by Newcastle University, the research was the first to explore the mechanism behind metformin, a key treatment used by diabetic patients to prevent heart disease, by simulating the effects of a heart attack using stem cells in a lab.
It was found that the physiological processes needed for new blood vessel formation, which is essential for heart attack recovery, can be enhanced by metformin.
Additionally, it was observed that a lack of oxygen in the presence of high glucose levels, as occurs during a heart attack in diabetes, can delay blood vessel formation, but metformin helps to reverse this process.
Dr Jolanta Weaver, senior lecturer in diabetes medicine at Newcastle University, said: "Our research is exciting as it can instantly make a difference to the treatments we are exploring, offering a new approach to heart disease in diabetes and new therapies may now be developed."
This is an important discovery as outcomes of heart disease interventions in patients with diabetes tend to be worse. Moreover, not all diabetic patients can take metformin, necessitating the development of new therapies that can replicate its beneficial effects.
Posted by Edward Bartel
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