Walter Koch, Ph.D., director of the Center for Translational Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and his co-workers knew that the drug Darbepoietin alpha would protect the ischemic heart. Darbepoietin is a long-acting cousin of erythropoietin (EPO), which has been shown to offer some protection to the heart from injury from ischemia, or a lack of oxygen. In previous studies, Dr. Koch had given EPO at the time of simulated heart attack in an another animal model, and found it protected the animals.
But in further studies, Dr. Koch gave Darbepoietin to animals at the time of ischemia and heart attack, one to two hours after, and 24 hours later. In each case, the scientists saw that the drug offered significant protection to heart tissue, and even helped improve cardiac function.
Dr. Koch believes the results “may be quickly translated into clinical trials.?He and his team present their findings on November 16, 2005 at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2005 in Dallas.