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New Drug Class Targets Heart Disease

Synthetic peptide promotes angiogenesis (September 17)

Researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada have developed a synthetic peptide that could be the first in a new class of drugs to treat heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

The researchers found that a deficiency in the peptide apelin is associated with heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, and diabetes. They also developed a synthetic version that targets pathways in the heart and promotes angiogenesis.

Lead author Dr. Gavin Oudit said that the synthetic form of apelin is more stable and potent than the naturally occurring peptide, making drug therapies possible.

Oudit’s team found that hearts from patients who experienced heart attacks were deficient in apelin, which is needed for the angiogenesis that helps the body adapt after tissue damage from heart attacks.

The researchers have filed a provisional patent on the synthetic apelin and will continue work developing the drug to be more potent and clinically applicable. Once the drug is perfected, they’ll move into the first phase of clinical trials in 2 or 3 years.

Source: EurekAlert; September 17, 2013.

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