A new drug that may reduce tissue damage following a heart attack, stroke or major surgery has been developed following research from UK scientists.
Development of MitoSNO could lead to a new host of medicines
Initial testing in mice has shown the new compound could protect the heart following the restoration of blood flow after tissue has been deprived of oxygen.
The drug is known as MitoSNO and has not yet been tested on humans but its development could open the door to a whole new host of medicines.
The study was published in the journal Nature Medicine and led by Dr Mike Murphy from the UK Medical Research Council’s Mitochondrial Biology Unit.
When blood flow is restored after an unnatural period without oxygen, such as in the event of a heart attack, the tissue in the heart can be damaged.
In some cases the blood flow can cause the production of dangerous molecules, named the free radicals, which are created in mitochondria. Mitochondria are found in most cells and are known as the ‘cellular power plants’ because they generate a source of chemical energy.
Following on from successful mice studies where there was an improvement of restricting the build-up of the free radicals, Dr Mike Murphy hopes human trials would be just as successful.
He said: “MitoSNO effectively flicks a switch in the mitochondria, slowing down reactivation during those critical first minutes when blood flow returns and protecting the heart tissue from further damage.
“We are hopeful that if human trials of MitoSNO are successful it could eventually be used in many other areas of medicine.”
The study was funded in part by the British Heart Foundation who believed the early research was a good sign for heart treatment
Shannon Amoils, research advisor from the British Heart Foundation, said: "It could potentially treat people immediately after a heart attack when blood flow to the heart is restored as part of routine treatment.
"This could mean fewer heart attack survivors go on to live with the burden of heart failure.”
Some insurance providers offer private medical insurance with comprehensive heart cover.
Comprehensive heart cover can offer you private surgery, routine clinical and post treatment care as well as the latest drugs and treatments should you suffer from any heart related problems.
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