Heart Attack Damage To Heart Muscle Reduced With New Drug

Mar 11 2019

Heart Attack Damage To Heart Muscle Reduced With New Drug

Heart attack is a scary phrase and rightfully so. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 5.7 million adults in the United States have heart failure.

The overall statistics are abysmal and alarming:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
  • About 630,000 Americans die from heart disease each year—that’s 25% of all deaths.
  • Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease.
  • In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds. Each minute, more than one person in the United States dies from a heart disease-related event.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most racial/ethnic groups in the United States, including African Americans, Hispanics, and whites. For Asian Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, heart disease is second only to cancer.
  • Heart disease costs the United States $200 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.

People with heart failure struggle with everyday activities. They feel weak, tire easily, and have trouble breathing. Other symptoms include weight gain and swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, and stomach.

heart attack

The drug blocks the protein MAP4K4,  MAP4K4 kills heart muscle cells and damages and scars the heart tissues.

Currently there are no therapies that prevent muscle cell death of the heart. MAP4K4 is the first drug that shows promise.

A heart attack occurs when a clot obstructs one of the arteries that brings nutrients and oxygen-rich blood to the heart. A decrease in oxygen and nutrients activates stress signals as heart cells die. Loss of these heart cells damages the heart muscle and makes the heart pump less efficiently. The results is heart failure as not enough blood is pumping to support the body’s organs.



Heart Attack: Testing MAP4K4 on Human Heart Cells

The researchers used chemicals to induce stress in heart cells and human heart muscle tissue that they had grown from human induced stem cells.

Results showed how stress activated the heart cell killer MAP4K4 protein. Blocking the protein, on the other hand, protected the heart cells from stress-induced death.

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Barry G

Barry graduated from City University of New York and holds a Ph.D. in Physiological Psychology.

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