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Experimental Drug Shows Promise Restoring Cardiac Function After Heart Failure

28 December 2016, 8:05 am EST By Dianne Depra Tech Times
Heart failure affects millions of adult Americans. It may still be in its experimental stages, but new drug cimaglermin is showing incredible promise in restoring cardiac function for heart failure patients based on a first-in-man study.  ( Joe Raedle | Getty Images )

New experimental drug cimaglermin may be able to help restore cardiac function for patients who have experienced heart failure, according to a study published in the journal JACC: Basic to Translational Science.

Characterized by cardiac function loss, heart failure is the primary cause of death around the world. A number do survive after experiencing heart failure but a significant portion of these patients are left with severe systolic dysfunction in their left ventricles and don't respond properly to treatment options currently available today.

Restoring Cardiac Function

Cimaglermin is designed to be a growth factor, aiding in contractile, metabolic and structural elements of the heart repair themselves following an injury after heart failure. For the study, the researchers worked with 40 patients who had experienced heart failure. All the patients have been taking optimal medical treatment for a minimum of three months already before the trial began.

Based on their findings, the researchers saw that patients given cimaglermin at a high dose had increased pumping activity in their left ventricles up to 90 days following dosing. The drug's maximum effect was reached on the 28th day.

"These findings support continued clinical development of the investigational drug cimaglermin," said Daniel J. Lenihan, M.D., the study's lead author.

He added that as with all kinds of experimental drugs, cimaglermin will have to undergo further research and be subjected to regulatory review to assess if its relative risks and benefits will warrant approval for use.

The most common side effects reported during the study were nausea and headaches, which were associated temporarily with being exposed to the drug. The study also faced limitations in that it had a small sample size and the patients were only administered one dose of the cimaglermin infusion.

However, JACC: Basic to Translational Science editor-in-chief Douglass Mann said if the study's results can be replicated in a larger number of subjects, cimaglermin will present a shift in how doctors treat those who have experienced heart failure.

Heart Failure Statistics

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart failure is defined as the heart's inability to pump enough oxygen and blood around the body to support other organs. The agency estimated that 5.7 million adults in the country have heart failure and about half of all those who develop it die within five years of being diagnosed. Every year, heart failure is pegged to cost the United States $30.7 billion, which includes cost for health care services and medications, as well as missed work days.

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