Co-author on the study, interventional cardiologist Dr Ravinay Bhindi from Royal North Shore Hospital, said the technique represents an important potential advance in the treatment of heart disease, which is Australia's number one killer.
"There remains a clinical need for improved therapies. Mortality and morbidity have been relatively static in heart disease despite improvements in treatment," Dr Bhindi said.
"This drug not only structurally reduces heart attack size but it protects heart muscle function. Both those things in combination improve outcomes and give hope to patients."
Dr Bhindi said the process was attractive because it is so selective.
"The drug minimises potential side-effects because it targets only a master switch gene which is only turned on in cells affected by the heart attack and can be delivered directly to a localised area at the most clinically relevant time," he said.
Professor Khachigian said other, independent trials of Dz13 were about to get underway to target c-Jun in a range of diseases, from skin cancers to eye disorders.
"Our discovery means that heart attack patients may also benefit from Dz13.
"These drugs are relatively easy to make and deliver, and there are no known safety issues," he said.
|Contact: Steve Offner|
University of New South Wales