New drug formulation could help people undergoing heart surgery


According to a press release, Raimondo Ascione, Saadeh Suleiman (Bristol Heart Institute, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK) and colleagues are to develop and test a new drug combination that could protect the hearts of patients undergoing cardiac surgery. They will explore whether treatment with two drugs—which are already used in other ways in people with heart conditions—could benefit patients undergoing open-heart surgery. They have been awarded a grant of nearly £300,000 by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to carry out this work.

The press release reports that previous studies carried out in Suleiman and Halestrap’s laboratories in rodents showed that consecutive use of two drugs—isoprenaline and adenosine—can activate protective pathways and limit heart damage following a myocardial infarction. Their team will now test this discovery in a pig model of myocardial infarction and cardiac surgery at the University of Bristol’s Translational Biomedical Research Centre (TBRC).

In the first part of the research project, the scientists will check the safety and feasibility of the surgery and isoprenaline/adenosine treatment and determine suitable doses. In the second part of the study, they will assess whether this treatment can limit damage caused to the injured pig heart when it is stopped during cardiac surgery and aim to establish the mechanisms underlying any protective effect.

Ascione comments: “This research could potentially benefit millions of cardiac surgery patients globally, and is aimed at paving the way for future first-in-man trials.  This work, with its multidisciplinary and translational focus, could reduce the use of NHS resources and also benefit the scientific community.”

Lucie Duluc, research advisor at the BHF, says: “Preventing heart injury after surgery would be of huge benefit to the thousands of patients in the UK who have these crucial operations every year.

Professor Ascione and Professor Suleiman have already demonstrated the potential to trigger a protective response within the heart in rodents, and this research is the next step towards translating that potential into a treatment that can benefit patients. This research will improve our understanding of the ways in which the heart protects itself after loss and restoration of blood supply and may identify new targets to prevent subsequent heart injury.”

The two-year research project titled “Consecutive isoprenaline/adenosine to improve myocardial cardioplegic protection in a porcine model of ischaemic heart failure with superimposed cardiac surgery” is funded by the BHF and will begin on 1 December 2018.


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