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.”
Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus University
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
26.06.2017 | Life Sciences
26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.06.2017 | Information Technology