New method to grow arteries could lead to 'biological bypass' for heart disease

Mar 08, 2010

A new method of growing arteries could lead to a "biological bypass"—or a non-invasive way to treat coronary artery disease, Yale School of Medicine researchers report with their colleagues in the April issue of Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Coronary arteries can become blocked with plaque, leading to a decrease in the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart. Over time this blockage can lead to debilitating chest pain or . Severe blockages in multiple major vessels may require coronary artery bypass graft surgery, a major invasive surgery.

"Successfully growing new arteries could provide a biological option for patients facing ," said lead author of the study Michael Simons, M.D., chief of the Section of Cardiology at Yale School of Medicine.

In the past, researchers used growth factors—proteins that stimulate the growth of cells -- to grow new arteries, but this method was unsuccessful. Simons and his team studied mice and to see if they could simulate arterial formation by switching on and off two signaling pathways -- ERK1/2 and P13K.

"We found that there is a cross-talk between the two signaling pathways. One half of the signaling pathway inhibits the other. When we inhibit this mechanism, we are able to grow arteries," said Simons. "Instead of using growth factors, we stopped the inhibitor mechanism by using a drug that targets a particular enzyme called P13-kinase inhibitor."

"Because we've located this inhibitory pathway, it opens the possibility of developing a new class of medication to grow new arteries," Simons added. "The next step is to test this finding in a human clinical trial."

Explore further: New route to identify drugs that can fight bacterial infections

More information: The Journal of Clinical Investigation Vol. 120, No. 4 (April 2010)

Related Stories

Drug-coated stents less risky for heart bypass patients

Jan 22, 2009

Coronary bypass surgery may carry less risk of serious complications if stents coated with a drug that suppresses cell growth are used in the procedure rather than bare-metal stents, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers ...

Recommended for you

Diet affects men's and women's gut microbes differently

14 hours ago

The microbes living in the guts of males and females react differently to diet, even when the diets are identical, according to a study by scientists from The University of Texas at Austin and six other institutions published ...

Researchers explore what happens when heart cells fail

16 hours ago

Through a grant from the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation, Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor Naomi Chesler will embark upon a new collaborative research project to better understand ...

Stem cells from nerves form teeth

18 hours ago

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have discovered that stem cells inside the soft tissues of the tooth come from an unexpected source, namely nerves. These findings are now being published in the journal Nature and co ...

User comments : 0