In the UK, 2.6 million people suffer from heart disease and most are able to have their symptoms effectively managed with the prescription of beta-blocker drugs which stop adrenaline from making the heart work too hard.
However, a major side effect of beta-blockers is that they make the symptoms of asthma and other breathing problems worse, so that around 300,000 patients in the UK who also suffer from respiratory conditions are prevented from taking them.
Now, a team of scientists from the University’s Schools of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy will use the Wellcome Trust’s funding, made under the Seeding Drug Discovery initiative, to conduct a three-year study to develop a modified type of beta-blocker that will treat heart disease and angina without exacerbating any underlying respiratory problems..
If successful, the new drug could become the general medicine of choice for all heart patients because its targeted action will lead to a significant reduction in overall side effects.
Even the best currently available beta-blockers are poor at discriminating between the heart and lungs, causing the muscles in the lungs to tighten and making breathing more difficult in some patients who have a pre-existing lung complaint.
In patients suffering from asthma, in which environmental factors cause muscle contractions leading to a narrowing of the airway, taking these medicines can trigger an attack or, even if tolerated enough to be taken regularly, can stop other asthma drugs from working.
Doctors are also extremely wary in prescribing beta-blockers for patients suffering from heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a progressive condition which causes the destruction of lung tissue and increased mucus production, because any reduction in respiratory function that may be caused by the drugs could have a major impact on symptoms.
The Nottingham scientists have already developed a molecule that is much more effective at discriminating between the heart and lungs than current drugs. The funding will allow them to carry out further studies to improve the molecule to ensure that it is able to target the heart cells more effectively — therefore directing the therapeutic effect only to the heart and not the lungs. The aim is that the resulting drug will be long-lasting and could be taken orally.
Leading the research, Dr Jill Baker from the School of Biomedical Sciences said: “Once developed, this molecule will cause much less wheezing and shortness of breath and should be able to be given safely to the hundreds of thousands of patients with both heart and lung diseases. Furthermore, because it will have so few side effects, it has the potential to become the beta-blocker of choice for all heart patients.”
Dr Ted Bianco, Director of Technology Transfer at the Wellcome Trust, said: “We know that beta-blockers save lives in patients with heart disease, so making them safe for those unlucky enough to have a respiratory disorder as well is a clinical imperative. I applaud Jill Baker for questioning why beta-blockers should remain contraindicated for so many of her patients, and being stirred to correct this with an incisive programme of work. In the best traditions of medical research, this endeavour was born out of a problem encountered at the sharp end of clinical practice.”
First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife
Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.10.2016 | Process Engineering