A drug used to treat kidney cancer can prevent the development of pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs) in rodents, report researchers //from the University of Chicago at the 2006 annual meeting of the American Heart Association, Nov. 12-15 in Chicago. There is no curative therapy for this condition.
'We are excited about this finding because there are so few treatment options for pulmonary hypertension,' said study author Mardi Gomberg-Maitland, M.D., M.Sc., assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. 'We have drugs that can slow progression of the disease but nothing that can stop or reverse the process. This is a ray of hope.'
Pulmonary hypertension and cancer share certain features. Both diseases involve abnormal cellular growth. These abnormal cells – in the case of pulmonary hypertension, those that line the blood vessels leading to the lungs – release signals that stimulate the growth of small new blood vessels to feed the renegade cells, allowing further proliferation, and thickening of the vessel walls. Sorafenib appears to interfere with that process.
Although originally designed to fight colon cancer, the drug, sorafenib (Nexavar?), proved much more effective against kidney cancer. Sorafenib inhibits an enzyme, known as Raf kinase, which plays a role in tumor-cell growth. Researchers eventually realized it also hit other targets. After clinical trials in kidney cancer patients demonstrated improved survival, it won FDA approval in December 2005.
Now, in a surprise finding, it appears to have a use in treating this cardiovascular disease.
In pulmonary hypertension, the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs constrict. Their walls thicken, which narrows the opening and reduces blood flow. Pressures within the arteries build up, requiring the heart to pump harder to push blood through the narrowed tubes to the lungs. Eventually the heart can no loPage: 1 2 Related medicine news :1
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