Researchers from the University of Queensland and Sydney’s Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute are working on a potential drug candidate derived from spider venom that blocks the “death signal” sent from the heart in the wake of a heart attack that causes heart cells to die.
“This will not only help the hundreds of thousands of people who have a heart attack every year around the world, it could also increase the number and quality of donor hearts, which will give hope to those waiting on the transplant list,” said Peter Macdonald, a professor at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute who is one of the study’s authors.
Cutting heart attacks, strokes possible even in young adults with poor cardiovascular health.
The Australian heart research is in its early stages; the researchers have tested the drug candidate on beating human heart cells exposed to heart attack stresses to see whether the drug improved their survival, and they are aiming to begin human clinical trials in the next two or three years.
“Despite decades of research, no one has been able to develop a drug that stops this death signal in heart cells, which is one of the reasons why heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the world,” said Nathan Palpant, one of the study’s co-authors, who is also from the University of Queensland.
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