Adult Stem Cell Therapy Blog

New Study Shows Antibiotic May Protect The Heart

Friday, July 07, 2006 - Stem Cell Guru

To end the week more news which falls in the 'prevention is better than cure' category for heart disease.

Science Daily is reporting on a study by Virginia Commonwealth University researchers studying of rapamycin, an antibiotic which is used to boost organ survival in transplant patients. They have found that the drug may protect the heart against tissue damage following acute heart attack.

In the July issue of the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, the official publication of the International Society for Heart Research, researchers demonstrated for the first time that pretreatment with a clinically relevant dose of rapamycin induces a protective effect against heart attack injury and reduces programmed cell death.

Researchers believe through the opening of the mitochondrial KATP channel of heart cells, rapamycin enables cells to maintain ATP levels. Mitochondria are cellular organelles critical for converting oxygen into ATP, the key fuel for cellular function.

“Rapamycin may one day be beneficial as a potential therapeutic strategy to limit cell death caused by ischemia or reperfusion injury, and possibly long-term prevention of ventricular remodeling – the changes in size, shape and function that may occur to the left ventricle of the heart,” said Rakesh C. Kukreja, Ph.D., professor of medicine and Eric Lipman Chair of Cardiology at VCU. Kukreja is lead author of the study.

“A significant clinical question will be whether or not rapamycin coated stents can be utilized in patients to favorably affect damaged heart muscle beyond the blockage causing a heart attack,” said George W. Vetrovec, M.D., chair of cardiology at VCU’s School of Medicine, and co-author of the study.


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