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< New drug shows promise for treating heart attack Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago>
August 2, 2020 • jainendra joshi • MEDICAL AND HEALTH

 

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed a replacement drug that forestalls blood

clots without causing an increased risk of bleeding, a standard side effect of all antiplatelet medications

currently available. A new study published within the journal Science Translational Medicine describes the

drug and its delivery mechanisms and shows that the drug is additionally an efficient treatment for attack in

animal models. Xiaoping Du, UIC professor of pharmacology and regenerative medicine at the College of

Medicine, led the research. “Unfortunately, current antiplatelet medications prevent the blood coagulation

that cause attack and stroke but also disrupt platelets’ ability to prevent bleeding if a vessel is torn,” Du said.

“In some cases, severe bleeding can be life-threatening. The magic of this new drug is it prevents clots but

does not make people prone to bleeding, which other drugs have failed to do.” In a previous study, Du and

his colleagues identified a signaling mechanism that is important in the blood clotting process but not

required for platelets’ ability to adhere to a wound and prevent bleeding. Based on this finding, the

researchers derived a peptide to target the signaling mechanism and designed a nanoparticle that

successfully delivered the peptide into platelets.

 

Du said a attack can cause coronary failure and death in two alternative ways . One, from the initial

damage caused by the clot, which blocks blood flow and reduces oxygen supply. This typically is

treated by a procedure called angioplasty and a stent to open the artery, combined with

antiplatelet drugs to prevent it from clotting again. However, fresh blood flowing into the

damaged heart tissue following the reopening of the artery can trigger inflammation, causing

leaks and clots in small blood vessels and further damage to the heart, Du said. Xiaoping Du

(Photo:

Joshua Clark) “This is named reperfusion injury and this is often the second way a attack can

cause

coronary failure or death,” Du said. “We were hopeful that this new drug, which doesn't

cause vessel

leaks, would help limit reperfusion injury and reduce the prospect of coronary failure and death,

and our

hypothesis was proved correct — we saw very promising results from our study.” In the study,

among  mice that received the treatment, administered as an injection, there was reduced

damage to the heart, reduced clotting and reduced inflammation.