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Hormone-based Heart Pill to Control High Blood Pressure

Researchers design Hormone-based Heart pill to control high blood pressure and new drugs that target heart and kidney. //

Mayo Clinic researchers have designed two promising new cardiovascular treatment approaches, a peptide-based drug that can be given in pill form to lower high blood pressure and a therapeutic hybrid molecule that helps improve both heart and kidney function.

In the process, they have overcome a key technological hurdle that has stymied researchers around the world in the development of new therapies based on clusters of amino acids called peptides. The Mayo Clinic researchers will present their findings March 27 at the American College of Cardiology’s 56th Annual Scientific Sessions.

The first advance supports the feasibility of developing a peptide-based drug that can be given in pill form to lower high blood pressure, and that is based on a hormone originating in the heart, called B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP).

"Our formulation of an oral peptide is a technological accomplishment that really can advance the field," says John Burnett, Jr., M.D., director of Mayo Clinic’s Cardiorenal Research Lab who led both studies. "Prior to this, it was unheard of that a peptide could be given orally, because it is so rapidly degraded by stomach enzymes. Yet we overcame this significant constraint. This is the first report demonstrating that a peptide -- in this case, BNP -- can be developed by innovative technology to be absorbed orally."

The second advance is the development of a therapeutic hybrid molecule that helps improve both heart and kidney function. Addressing kidney blood vessel disease in addition to heart vessel disease is an increasingly important clinical focus for therapies as kidney failure becomes epidemic in the 21st century, and diseases of both heart and kidney link the health of the two organ systems.

Heart Hormone Pill for High Blood Pressure Heart disease continues to
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