New insights into deadly heart condition
Professor Mark Evans' lab (Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences) have found a new target for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The research could lead to treatments for this life changing condition with no cure.
PAH is a serious condition that causes high blood pressure in the blood vessels between the heart and the lungs. It leaves sufferers weak and short of breath and can lead to heart failure. There is no cure and treatments are limited to trying to treat the symptoms.
Current drugs for PAH can themselves have drastic side effects like nausea, limb-pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. Around 6,500 people in the UK have PAH.
By studying muscle cells from pulmonary arteries in mice, and clones of human cells, the team have been able to show that they can use the existing treatments for PAH to regulate a new calcium channel, called TPC2.
How these drugs work against the condition has been hotly debated as they were initially designed for other targets. Using them as a template to develop new drugs could speed up the road to new specific treatments for PAH.
Our research suggests that drugs already used to treat PAH, like nifedipine and rapamycin, could be made much, much better by exploiting our discovery that they interact with the TPC2 channel.