November 24, 2011
Substance In Cancer Medicine May Help Prevent Heart Attacks
Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden have been using a substance found in cancer and epilepsy drugs to help stimulate the body´s natural defense mechanism against blood clots.
The body contains a system that helps break down blood clots before they can damage the heart, called the fibrinolytic system. This system “sprays” an enzyme on the clot before it can stop blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack. This system can be compromised by hereditary and lifestyle factors, high blood pressure, smoking and being overweight.
The researchers, though, have been looking at ways to stimulate this clot-dissolving system. They have found a method using HDAC inhibitors, which they already know the side-effects for and is new for this particular research. Pia Larsson from the Sahlgrenska Academy and is studying the method says, “We found that treatment with HDAC inhibitors dramatically increased production of the clot-dissolving enzyme, and that this occurred at far lower concentrations than expected.”
But more research needs to be carried out before the treatment for heart attacks is approved. Larsson says, “Our trials have been carried out on cultured cells from the vessel wall and we can´t guarantee that the cells, when present in the body, will behave in exactly the same way. The results must therefore be tested on people before we can draw any firm conclusions.”
According to the press release, researchers are preparing their first studies on humans to investigate the effect of HDAC inhibitors on the clot-dissolving enzyme.
Pia Larsson's thesis, "Regulation of Vascular Endothelial t-PA Expression in Inflammation — Potential Target for Pharmacological Modulation" was defended on 18 November.
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