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Vaccine Could One Day Control High Blood Pressure
Date:3/6/2008

Preliminary study results encouraging; it would only be needed a few times a year

THURSDAY, March 6 (HealthDay News) -- A vaccine that blocks so-called angiotensin II receptors, thus relaxing blood vessels to lower blood pressure, may one day replace current blood pressure medications, a new study suggests.

The advantage of the vaccine is that it would only need to be given two or three times a year and should help patients adhere to their medication regimen, researchers say.

"We found the vaccine was well-tolerated, and it did lower blood pressure in hypertensive people," said vaccine inventor Martin Bachmann, of Cytos Biotechnology in Schlieren, Switzerland.

Currently, there are two problems with high blood pressure drugs, Bachmann said. "On the one hand, people just don't take them, and, on other hand, the drugs don't work very well early in the morning," he said.

In the United States, only about one-third of people with high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) have their blood pressure under control, according to background information for the study. Many people don't take their blood pressure medications because of side effects, concerns about the long-term effects of the drugs, and their lack of perceptible symptoms, Bachmann noted.

"Our vaccine would only have to be taken maybe twice or three times a year, not every day. In addition, it works best early in the morning," Bachmann said.

In the new study, Bachmann's team presented the results of an early trial of 72 patients with mild to moderate high blood pressure who were randomly assigned to receive the vaccine at two different doses or a placebo.

The patients' blood pressure was measured before the trial and 14 weeks after the trial began. The outcome the researchers were looking for was whether the vaccine was safe and well-tolerated.

Bachmann's team found that patients who received the highe
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