The drug, a member of a class of compounds known as phosphodiesterase (PDE) type I inhibitors, shows promising effects on dog and rabbit hearts, as well as on isolated rabbit heart cells, most notably an increase in the strength of the heart muscle's contractions, the researchers say.
Human heart failure is a chronic condition often marked by weakening of the heart muscle and its subsequent failure to pump enough blood. Currently, dozens of drugs are available to treat or manage heart failure symptoms, but drugs that improve the strength of the heart muscle's contractions, such as dobutamine, carry the risk of dangerous complications such as developing an irregular heartbeat.
Study - Report - Circulation - July - Johns
However, in their study, described in a report published in the journal Circulation on July 20, the Johns Hopkins researchers demonstrate that the new compound works differently than current drugs, suggesting its use may be a safer way to increase heart contraction strength.
Heart failure affects about 5.7 million U.S. adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and contributes to an estimated one in nine deaths. Standard treatment includes diuretics that increase urine production to keep the heart from becoming enlarged; angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors that lower blood pressure and reduce the workload on the heart; and beta blockers that protect against heart damage from high levels of the stress hormone adrenaline that are common with heart failure, and that help reduce the heart's workload. There is no cure.
Results - Territory - Way - Contractility - Patients
"Our results are intriguing because so far it's been largely uncharted territory to come up with a way of increasing contractility that doesn't ultimately hurt patients," says David Kass, M.D., the Abraham and Virginia Weiss Professor of Cardiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and principal investigator of the study.
The drug explored in the new study, ITI-214, inhibits the enzyme PDE1,...
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