AUG 27, 2018 8:56 PM PDT

Anemic Drug Re-purposed To Treat Heart Failure in Diabetics

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

According to a study funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Diabetes UK, drugs in development to treat anemia can now be repurposed to help prevent people with Type 2 diabetes from heart failure. The study was published in the Journal of American Cardiology and discusses how a protein by the name of HIF was found to help cardiomyocytes (heart cells) thrive after a heart attack.

In diabetics, fats aggregate within the heart muscle and cause the activity of the HIF protein to be inhibited. In other words, a diabetic will then be more likely to suffer a lasting heart muscle damage and develop heart failure after a heart attack. "After a heart attack, people with Type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop heart failure more quickly, but we have not fully understood the reasons why that is the case,” explains Dr. Lisa Heather, a BHF researcher from the University of Oxford and lead author of the study.

When scientists from the University of Oxford treated diabetic rats with a compound responsible for activating the HIF protein, they were motivated to help the heart heal after a heart attack. However, this is not definitive as plenty of research is needed to see if this process is possible to replicate in humans. the heart to recover from a heart attack. Further work is needed to see whether the same process can be replicated in people.

"What we have shown with this research is that the metabolism of people with Type 2 diabetes means they have higher levels of fatty acids in the heart. This prevents signals going to the heart protective protein telling it to 'kick-in' after a heart attack. But what is perhaps most exciting, is that existing drugs -- currently being trialed for people with blood disorders -- can reverse that effect and allow the protein to be activated after a heart attack. This opens the possibility that, in the near future, we could also use these drugs to help treat heart attacks in people with Type 2 diabetes."

Watch this video below to understand more on the relationship between diabetes and the heart!

Source: British Heart Foundation

About the Author
BS/MS
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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