Innovation

New Compound Found To Hasten Heart Attack Recovery

Scientists are exploring a potential drug that could prevent damage from a heart attack. It works by protecting healthy heart muscle tissue and preventing cell death despite lack of oxygen supply. 

During a heart attack, certain heart cells receive less blood flow and oxygen that could lead to hypoxic ischemic injury. The affected cells also send signals to nearby heart muscle cells that may then stop functioning. 

This is the situation that researchers want to prevent using the potential drug. They aim to give a person a medication that could isolate hypoxic ischemic injury and encourage heart muscle cells to continue working despite the presence of dying neighbors. 

The drug, described in the Journal of the American Heart Association, uses the molecule called alphaCT11. It has the capability to preserve healthy heart tissue during and after a heart attack, Science Daily reported Monday

"Cardiologists say that when a heart attack occurs, time is muscle," Robert Gourdie, director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC Center for Heart and Reparative Medicine Research, said in a statement. "The problem is that the area of dying tissue is not quarantined. Damaged heart cells start to send out signals to otherwise healthy cells, and the injury becomes much bigger." 

AlphaCT11 is part of the compound called alphaCT1 that Gourdie and his team discovered nearly a decade ago. AlphaCT1 was originally used for skin wound healing. 

But the compound later appeared with an important role in how cell membranes respond to the effects of hypoxic ischemic injury. It was the alphaCT11 molecule that provides injury-reducing effect and helps protect the heart. 

"AlphaCT11 seems to be even more effective than the original peptide in protecting hearts from ischemic injury similar to those occurring during a heart attack," Gourdie added. The molecule "could provide the basis for a new way to treat heart attacks and prevent the spread of damage that occurs immediately after a heart attack."

The researchers said the molecule could protect the heart even 20 minutes after the loss of blood flow because of heart attack during lab tests with mice. The team hopes to continue the study and test the potential drug with humans in the future. 

heartache The American College of Gastroenterology estimates that there are up to 15 million people experiencing the condition every day across the U.S. Pixabay

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