OCT 21, 2019 10:32 PM PDT

Therapeutic Targets Inflammation Associated with Genetic Heart Disease

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Often times when young athletes collapse during the game it is due to sudden cardiac death as a result of the inherited arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM). Researchers have sought a new drug that can help reduce some of the ACM disease symptoms and progression to heart failure in affected individuals. The drug is referred to as ‘Bay-11-7082’ and is currently used in laboratory settings for experimental purposes.

Learn more:

"We realized that heart muscle inflammation in ACM is much more complicated than we thought, but also might provide a therapeutic strategy," says Stephen Chelko, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

ACM patients carry mutations in any of the five genes that are involved with holding the heart cells together. If an individual is aware that they carry such mutations, they are warned to avoid certain exercises and are placed on particular diets. Although some drugs are prescribed to maintain a slower heart rate, there are currently none that target the underlying defects of ACM.

"We tended in the past to view ACM as something that kills due to a sudden arrhythmic event," said Chelko. "But now we're starting to also see it as a chronic inflammatory disease that can progress more slowly over time, leading to heart failure."

Researchers have examined the molecular origins of heart inflammation in people with ACM. Findings, published in Circulation, shows that inflammation is a result of two separate causes: the high levels of an immune cell known as macrophages, a type of immune cell that's normally found at sites of inflammation and the presence of protein nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB).

A healthy mouse heart (left), a mouse heart with cardiomyopathy (center) and a mouse heart with cardiomyopathy treated with the NF-κB-blocking drug Bay-11-7082 (right).

Credit: Circulation via HopkinsMedicine.org

"Macrophages are usually the good guys who help heal a wound and then leave," said Chelko. "But in ACM they're permanently setting up shop in the heart, which, over time, reduces its function. We're very excited to have found an FDA-approved drug that can reduce heart inflammation in ACM, and we're eager to do more research to ultimately help those who carry these genetic mutations.”

Story Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine

About the Author
  • Nouran enjoys writing on various topics including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
NOV 14, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
NOV 14, 2019
Does Modafinil Really Increase Brain Function?
Modafinil, often sold under the name “Provigil”, is a wakefulness-promoting drug used to treat excessive sleeping in conditions such as narcole...
NOV 14, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
NOV 14, 2019
A Diabetic Drug that Promotes Brain Repair...But it Only Works in Females
Gender discrimination in research has long stopped serious advancements. In neuroscience, scientists believed that male brains are straightforward and do n...
NOV 14, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
NOV 14, 2019
Does TruBrain Really Work?
TruBrain is a mix of different substances claimed to help people increase verbal fluency, avoid distractions, and boost their mental output. Created by a t...
NOV 14, 2019
Neuroscience
NOV 14, 2019
Can CRISPR Technology Treat Alzheimer's?
New drugs that seek to treat Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have a 99.6% failure rate. This makes it the only disease in the top 10 causes of death that ca...
NOV 14, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
NOV 14, 2019
Genital Herpes Vaccine Works in Rodents
A recent vaccine was developed by scientists at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania that protects against genital herpes. The vac...
NOV 14, 2019
Cancer
NOV 14, 2019
How caloric restriction mimetics might prove helpful for cancer treatments
The benefits of fasting have been known to scientists and medical professionals for some time now, however for many, the reality of fasting is not alluring...
Loading Comments...