Researchers from the University of Virginia have developed a computer model that indicates the chemotherapy drug midostaurin could potentially treat and prevent heart failure.
Developed by Jeffrey J. Saucerman and graduate student Taylor G. Eggertsen, the model has shown promising initial results in lab tests.
The UVA Health research team created a computer model to simulate the harmful growth of heart muscle cells, a process known as cardiac hypertrophy, that often precedes heart failure.
This enabled them to test the potential effectiveness of various drugs on heart muscle cells, thereby saving valuable time and resources in the search for new treatment methods.
The research, which has been published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, found that midostaurin, commonly used to treat acute myeloid leukemia, could slow down the harmful changes to heart muscle cells.
Implications for Heart Failure Treatment
Heart failure is a chronic condition affecting millions of Americans. It leads to a weakening of the heart’s ability to pump blood, causing symptoms like fatigue, swollen legs, and eventually, death.
Given the high mortality rate within five years of diagnosis, new treatment methods are urgently needed.
Saucerman states, “New drugs take decades to develop. We hope this tool will help us find drugs for heart failure that are already known to be safe and effective for other diseases.”
After screening more than 250 candidate drugs and finding 38 that show promise, the researchers plan to proceed with further testing in models more closely resembling humans.
“This computational treasure hunt for drugs may eventually lead to more options for treating heart failure patients,” said Saucerman.
The research by UVA Health is a groundbreaking step toward finding alternative methods of treating heart failure, a disease with high mortality rates.
By identifying drugs that are already proven to be safe for other uses, such as midostaurin, the researchers may dramatically shorten the time needed to bring new treatments to patients.
This offers a glimmer of hope for millions suffering from heart failure.
If you care about heart health, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and calcium supplements could harm your heart health.
For more information about heart health, please see recent studies that artificial sweeteners in food linked to higher risk of heart disease, and results showing people who have the lowest heart disease and stroke risks.
The research findings can be found in the British Journal of Pharmacology.
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