UCL News


Drug 'to cut heart attack damage'

29 April 2006

Scientists are designing a drug they hope will reduce tissue damage after a heart attack.

It works by blocking the destructive effect of a compound called C-reactive protein (CRP), which is normally present at trace levels in the blood.

After a heart attack, however, levels increase sharply - and patients with the highest levels of all are most likely to die. …

The researchers, building on previous work by UCL, have developed a potent compound called bis(phosphocholine)-hexane.

It was found to inhibit CRP in the test tube, and to block its damaging effects in experiments to simulate the effect of a heart attack.

Researcher Professor Mark Pepys [UCL Medicine] said: "Although heart attacks are responsible for about one third of all deaths in developed countries, most patients survive a first heart attack.

"However, if they have a large scar, patients go on to develop heart failure which is eventually fatal. Reducing the immediate damage is thus critically important." …

Professor Pepys said the aim was now to perfect the new drug as quickly as possible for tests in patients - hopefully within two years.

"The drug would be given as soon as patients arrived in hospital. If effective, it would reduce the amount of damage in the heart, thus limiting both early mortality and the size of the scar left in the heart.

"It is likely that CRP contributes to tissue damage in a range of diseases in which CRP levels are greatly increased, and the inhibition of CRP may thus find broad application in medicine." …

BBC News Online