Navigation Links
New Drug May Put the Squeeze on Heart Failure
Date:8/19/2011

By Denise Mann
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- An experimental heart failure drug may change the way doctors treat this vexing condition, researchers say.

Heart failure, also called congestive heart failure, occurs when the heart can no longer pump strongly enough for blood to the reach the rest of the body. About 5.7 million people in the United States have heart failure, and 300,000 people die from it each year, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. While no cure exists, treatments focus on improving quality of life and helping people live longer.

A new drug -- omecamtiv mecarbil, which is being developed by Cytokinetics Inc. in San Francisco -- may someday offer an alternative to current treatments, according to the results of two clinical trials published Aug. 20 in a special issue of The Lancet.

"It improves heart function in a completely new and unique manner," said Dr. John R. Teerlink, a cardiologist at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and author of one of the new studies.

"The drug directly increases the activation of certain heart muscle proteins, effectively recruiting 'more hands on the rope' with each heartbeat," he said. "By improving the efficiency and performance of the heart, it is our hope that patients with heart failure will actually feel better with fewer symptoms of fatigue and shortness of breath, and perhaps even live longer," he said.

However, it is too early to draw any sweeping conclusions, as the drug -- called a cardiac myosin activator -- is in the early stages of clinical trials.

The currently available heart failure drugs, such as milrinone (Primacor) and dobutamine (Dobutrex), indirectly increase heart function, and can cause dangerous, even deadly, heart rhythm abnormalities, Teerlink said. "These drugs are 'necessary evils' because they are the only currently available pharmacologic means to increase heart function," he said.

Teerlink's study involved 34 healthy men who received the drug intravenously once a week for one month. It was designed to determine the optimal dosing regimen for the new drug.

The other study, conducted at the University of Hull in East Yorkshire, England, marks the first time that the agent was studied in people with heart failure. The researchers said omecamtiv mecarbil safely improved cardiac function in 45 people with heart failure who were already receiving standard treatment.

Dr. Ronald Zolty, director of the heart failure program at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, is cautiously optimistic about the new heart failure drug.

"It is a promising drug, but we have been down this road before," he said.

"When you have heart failure, the pumping action of the heart is weak, so not enough blood gets to the body, and you feel short of breath, sleep a lot and your kidneys don't work," Zolty explained.

Existing drugs do improve the "squeeze," but they also increase mortality, he said.

Dr. Michele Hamilton, director of the heart failure program at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, agreed with Zolty on the need for a new heart failure drug.

"The major problem we face in treating heart failure is how can we make the heart squeeze harder," she said. To date, no medications have proven effective or safe, and as a result, doctors focus on getting rid of excess fluid buildup and reducing stress on the heart, she said.

Medications that make the heart squeeze harder put more stress on the heart, and the patients die sooner. "It is akin to whipping a tired horse as it goes uphill," she said.

"It's great to see a new medication being tested and developed," Hamilton said. But, "we are far away from the finish line."

More information

To learn more about heart failure, visit the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

SOURCES: Michele Hamilton, M.D., director, heart failure program, Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, Los Angeles; John R. Teerlink, M.D., cardiologist, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco; Ronald Zolty, M.D., Ph.D., director, heart failure program, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, N.Y.; Aug. 20, 2011, The Lancet


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Putting the squeeze on fat cells
2. ICU Patients at Risk for Rare Heart Rhythm Problem
3. Cook With Love This Valentines Day With Heart-Smart Recipes
4. Study finds racial gaps continue in heart disease awareness
5. Highmark Foundation Awards $120,000 to the American Heart Association
6. Womens Heart Disease Awareness Still Lacking
7. American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report: Study Finds Racial Gaps Continue in Heart Disease Awareness, Low Knowledge of Heart Attack Warning Signs Among Women
8. Migraine Linked to Increased Heart Attack Risk
9. PERSONALABS Offers Discounted Healthy Heart Online Blood Tests in February
10. Compound shows promise against intractable heart failure
11. New American Heart Association Survey Finds Heart Disease and Stroke Patients Face Significant Barriers in Obtaining Quality, Affordable Care
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
New Drug May Put the Squeeze on Heart Failure
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... The manufacturer of the ... kicking trainers to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to benefit families dealing with ... band designed to teach children how to kick a soccer ball correctly. The ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... ... provider serving families of Camas and Vancouver, WA, has announced the latest ... the National Breast Cancer Foundation and their Mammography Program, which provides free ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... IsoComforter, Inc., one ... of the innovative newly improved Iso-Hip Wrap. The newly designed hip wrap ... enhances comfort and enables the patient to enjoy the benefits of cold therapy ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... , ... May 04, 2016 , ... A new collaboration ... world. The Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) and analytics leader SAS will provide researchers ... data collected by the Duke University Health System. , The DCRI and SAS ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... Slepkow Slepkow & ... one of the top website design companies to create a state of the ... to the law firm's main practice areas. These practice areas include: real estate, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... -- According to market research "Global Magnetic ... Demand Forecast to 2022 - Industry Insights by Architecture ... High Field, Low to Mid Field, and Ultra High ... Vascular, Breast, Pelvic and Abdomen, Cardiac, and Other)" P&S ... was valued at $5,351.7 million in 2015, and it ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... May 3, 2016 ... dass sie einen entscheidenden Meilenstein durch diese ... Aufruf zum Handeln, um Patientenresultate  bei Verdauungs- ... zu Fortschritten im Verständnis der Hepatischen Enzephalopathie ... Bewusstsein für Hepatische Enzephalopathie in der Öffentlichkeit ...
(Date:5/2/2016)...  Celsion Corporation (NASDAQ: CLSN ), an ... the first cohort of patients in its Phase ... combining GEN-1, the Company,s DNA-based immunotherapy, with the ... patients with advanced ovarian cancer who will undergo ... the first three patients dosed, GEN-1 plus standard ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: