Discovery could aid development of new blood pressure therapy

7 September 2016

An innovative new treatment for high blood pressure could be developed following the discovery of a promising method of tackling hypertension.

Researchers at the University of Bristol and Afferent Pharmaceuticals have found that targeting aberrant nerve signals in the carotid bodies, which sit on the common carotid arteries on each side of the neck, could be a viable means of addressing high blood pressure.

Instead of directly targeting functions within end organs such as the heart, kidneys and vasculature, this approach reduces nervous system activity from the carotid body, a sensory organ that can cause blood pressure to rise uncontrollably when activated.

An investigational drug candidate called MK-762 was shown to be able to effectively combat hypertension at the source through this approach, resulting in a significant reduction in blood pressure.

Previously, the team had demonstrated that carotid body removal had a similar effect, but using the drug had the benefit of not rendering the carotid body inoperable.

Study leader Julian Paton, professor of physiology at the University of Bristol, said: "This approach may be the first novel antihypertensive treatment strategy in more than 15 years, and perhaps the first directed at a root cause of excessive sympathetic discharge to cardiovascular end organs."

Posted by Edward Bartel


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