New therapy for organ damage unveiled by Melbourne scientists

By Our Reporter

A breakthrough study by Monash University and the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute has unveiled a promising new therapy for organ damage caused by high blood pressure. This research highlights the potential of a novel small-molecule pro-resolving activator, compound17b (Cmpd17b), which has shown significant protective effects against hypertension-induced organ damage.

Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, can lead to severe damage to the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels. Current treatments often fall short, leaving patients vulnerable to complications such as enlarged hearts and weakened blood vessels. Addressing the underlying inflammation is key to improving outcomes and reducing these risks.

Researchers from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) and the Baker Heart Institute embarked on an investigation into the effects of Cmpd17b. This compound, previously shown to protect against heart attacks, was tested for its ability to mitigate organ damage caused by hypertension. By activating the formyl peptide receptor (FPR) family, which plays a crucial role in regulating inflammation, Cmpd17b has emerged as a potent therapeutic agent.

The study, which included both animal and human trials, demonstrated that Cmpd17b could normalise the structure and function of heart and blood vessels in hypertensive mice. Jaideep Singh, MIPS PhD candidate and co-first author of the study, expressed optimism about the findings, noting that current hypertension treatments are limited in addressing organ damage, highlighting the necessity for new solutions.

Professor Geoff Head AM, senior author and Head of the Neuropharmacology Laboratory at the Baker Institute, pointed out the prevalence and impact of organ impairment due to hypertension. He explained that FPRs act like bodyguards controlling inflammation, a major issue in high blood pressure. The activation of these receptors by Cmpd17b suggests a promising method for preventing and treating hypertension-related organ damage.

Dr Chengxue Helena Qin, corresponding author and MIPS lab head, detailed the significant changes observed in the proteins and pathways within the hearts and blood vessels of hypertensive mice. She noted that Cmpd17b could reverse some of these changes, improving heart and blood vessel health. This indicates potential effectiveness in humans, paving the way for new treatment approaches.

This research was funded by the National Heart Foundation of Australia, the Australian Medical Research Future Fund, NHMRC Ideas grants, and the Victorian Government of Australia’s Operational Infrastructure Support Program. The study represents a significant step forward in the search for effective treatments for hypertension-induced organ damage, offering hope for better management and outcomes for patients with high blood pressure.

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