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Breakthrough in the treatment of heart attacks?
When testing an experimental drug, a new drug reduced heart damage after a heart attack by up to 60 percent. Doctors hope that future use can significantly improve the survival rate of people after a heart attack.
The research team from Imperial College London and the internationally renowned University of Oxford found in their current investigation that a new experimental drug can significantly reduce heart damage after a heart attack. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Cell Stem Cell".
Will the new drug be available in 2021?
The new drug can block harmful chemical signals that arise when the heart's blood supply is interrupted. In such a case, the lack of oxygen then releases chemicals that can cause tissue sections to die and heart failure, which further increases the risk of further heart attacks or strokes. The experts hope that the experimental drug will have completed all the necessary safety tests and patient trials by 2021, only to revolutionize care after heart attacks. The search for a drug that could limit damage to the heart muscle during and after a heart attack and stop heart failure has been an important research goal for decades, the scientists say. But despite a number of promising candidates in the past, there are still no drugs that can do this in everyday clinical practice. If the drug works as doctors hope, it will be a real revolution in the treatment of heart attacks.
What is heart failure?
The new drug works by targeting a protein called MAP4K4, which scientists have found particularly important in the study of people with heart failure. Heart failure means that the heart cannot pump the blood properly through the body, often because the muscle has become too weak or too stiff. Heart failure does not mean that the heart has stopped working. Heart failure can occur at any age, but is most common in the elderly. Heart failure is a long-term disease that gradually worsens over time. The disease usually cannot be completely cured, but the symptoms can often be well controlled for years.
What indicates heart failure?
These symptoms indicate heart failure: shortness of breath after activity, shortness of breath during periods of rest, frequent fatigue and swollen ankles and legs. Some people also experience other symptoms, such as persistent coughing, an accelerated heart rate, and dizziness. Symptoms can develop quickly or gradually over a period of weeks or months. Be sure to contact your family doctor if the symptoms of heart failure persist or gradually worsen, the doctors advise.
Damage after a heart attack was reduced by two thirds
The researchers found that after a heart attack, MAP4K4 is activated in the tissue of mice and humans and then irreparably damages the heart and other body tissues. By blocking its activity in human tissue in a heart attack produced by the laboratory, the team was able to reduce this damage by almost two thirds.
Effects of a heart attack
When someone has a heart attack, the blood supply to the organ is cut off or reduced, causing a lack of oxygen. This lack of oxygen triggers chemical stress signals, which can then lead to cell death. When cells die in parts of the heart, the muscle weakens and is less able to pump blood through the body. If the patient survives the infarction, it has lifelong health effects. (as)