Drug shows promise in aiding recovery post heart attack: Study

Melbourne, Jan 2 (PTI) Researchers have shown that a novel protein derived from blood cells that aid in clotting can be used as a therapy to improve outcomes following heart attack, an advance that may lead to new treatment for cardiac arrest.

According to the scientists, including those from the University of Sydney in Australia, the protein, called recombinant human platelet-derived growth factor-AB (rhPDGF-AB) improved cardiac function and scar formation following heart attack, and led to an overall increase in survival rate in an animal model.

The study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, said infusing rhPDGF into subjects that have had heart attacks improves the quality of the scar, leads to the formation of new blood vessels, and reduced rates of dangerous irregular heartbeats.

The scientists noted in a statement that following heart attack, the cardiac muscle is damaged, causing thick scar tissue to form, limiting the heart's ability to function efficiently, and increasing the risk of heart failure.

Current treatments, they said, aim to restore blood and the oxygen supply to the heart as quickly as possible to reduce scarring. While this improves clinical outcomes, up to a quarter of patients experiencing their first heart attack will develop heart failure within one year.

'This is an entirely new approach with no current treatments able to change scar in this way. By improving cardiac function and scar formation following heart attack, treatment with rhPDGF-AB led to an overall increase in survival rate in our study,' said co-author of the research, James Chong from the University of Sydney.

Chong added that while the treatment did not affect overall scar size, rhPDGF-AB led to increased alignment and strength of proteins present in the scar region, which improved heart function after the heart attack.

However, the scientists said further research is needed to quantify safe dosage of rhPDGF-AB.

'Then we can start looking towards clinical trials in humans very soon. rhPDGF-AB is clearly a promising therapeutic option, and could potentially be used alongside existing treatments to improve heart attack patient outcomes and survival rates,' Chong said. PTI VIS VIS VIS