Congenital heart defects (CHD) are the most common birth defects in humans, affecting 8 per 1000 live births with one-third of affected children requiring intervention in early infancy. Increasing numbers of survivors combined with developmental expectations for independence, behavioral self-regulation and academic achievement have led to a growing identification of neurobehavioral symptoms in some survivors. A study now suggests that a cooling technique often used in heart operations does not impair neurological outcomes. Congenital heart disease and its treatment were originally thought to potentially increase neurologic injury in these patients. The technique of deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (DHCA) is used in order to repair these congenital cardiac defects by providing a bloodless surgical field, which may facilitate completion of the best physiologic repair, and decrease the duration of blood exposure to the bypass circuit. However, it involves a period of reduced blood flow in the brain.
Yang Cao, an assistant professor in the computer science department at Virginia Tech's College of Engineering, has won a $550, 000 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award to develop computer simulation methods that will better understand the complex, discrete, and stochastic cell cycle model. The CAREER grant is the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award, given to creative junior faculty likely considered to become academic leaders of the future. The five-year grant funds Cao's ( http://www.cs.vt.edu/user/31 ) research project, titled "Multi-scale Stochastic Simulation for Complex Biochemical Systems with Visualization Tools." The project will involve a multi-disciplinary tract from Virginia Tech faculty in Cao's computer science department ( http://www.cs.vt.edu/ ), as well as those from the departments of mathematics and biology - both part of the College of Science ( http://www.admiss.vt.edu/majors/cos.php ). The cell cycle is the sequence of events whereby a living cell replicates its components, reaches a target size, and then and divides itself more or less evenly between two "daughter" cells, so that each offspring receives the information and machinery necessary to repeat the process.
Cardium Provides Update On Commercial Development Plans For Generx Angiogenic Therapy For Heart Disease At 2010 Cell Gene Therapy Forum
Cardium Therapeutics (NYSE Amex: CXM) reported that its Cardium Biologics division provided an update on plans for the continuing commercial development of Generx™ (alferminogene tadenovec, Ad5FGF-4), a DNA-based angiogenic therapy product candidate for patients with coronary artery disease. The update was presented by Gabor M. Rubanyi, M.D., Ph.D., Cardium's Chief Scientific Officer at the annual 2010 Cell & Gene Therapy Forum in Washington, D.C. on January 25, 2010. Cardium Biologics reported on the following findings and plans: (1) As previously announced, based on an agreement with the FDA, Generx would be re-formulated to increase its shelf life, and further formulation enhancements are expected to allow for storage using a standard freezer (rather than at -70 degrees C), and potentially a lyophilized version for refrigerated storage. (2) Based on clinical and pre-clinical findings, angiogenic therapy appears to lead to long-term functional improvements in cardiac microvascular circulation, and Cardium believes that cardiac perfusion (as measured by SPECT) appears to be an important efficacy endpoint to consider that is now supported by a 10-year study of the cardio-protective nature of collateral circulation (Meier et al.
Atrial Fibrillation Treatment Using Specialized Catheter Results In Better Outcomes Compared To Drug Therapy
Use of catheter ablation, in which radiofrequency energy is emitted from a catheter to eliminate the source of an irregular heartbeat, resulted in significantly better outcomes in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (intermittent cardiac rhythm disturbance) who had not responded previously to antiarrhythmic drug therapy, according to a study in the January 27 issue of JAMA. Atrial fibrillation (AF) represents an important public health problem, with patients having an increased long-term risk of stroke, heart failure and all-cause death. Although antiarrhythmic drugs are generally used as first-line therapy to treat patients with AF, they are associated with cumulative adverse effects over time and their effectiveness remains inconsistent, according to background information in the article. Catheter ablation has become an alternative therapy for AF. David J. Wilber, M.D., of Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Ill., and colleagues conducted a study to compare catheter ablation with antiarrhythmic drug therapy (ADT) in patients with symptomatic paroxysmal AF who previously did not respond to at least one antiarrhythmic drug.
Burning away heart tissue using a procedure called catheter ablation is dramatically more successful than drugs at treating atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder, according to a new landmark study published in a leading journal today. Lead researcher Dr. David Wilber, director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, and colleagues, write about their findings in the 27 January online issue of JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association. Wilber presented data from this study to the Heart Rhythm Society's Scientific Sessions last year. They found that after one year, two thirds of patients who received catheter ablation to treat an irregular heartbeat caused by atrial fibrillation (A-Fib), no longer experienced recurrent irregular heartbeats or symptoms, compared with only 16 per cent of those treated with drugs. The researchers reported that the results were so good the trial stopped early. The study was sponsored by Biosense Webster, who provided the catheters.
Treating a common heart rhythm disorder by burning heart tissue with a catheter works dramatically better than drug treatments, according to a landmark study published in the Jan. 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). One year after undergoing a treatment called catheter ablation, 66 percent of patients with an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) were free of any recurrent irregular heartbeats or symptoms, compared with only 16 percent of those treated with drugs. Results were so convincing the trial was halted early. The study's lead researcher is Dr. David Wilber, director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. More than 2 million Americans have atrial fibrillation, and there are about 160, 000 new cases each year. The number is increasing, due in part to the aging population and the obesity epidemic. Patients receiving ablation reported immediate and major improvements in their quality of life, which were maintained over the nine months they were followed.
Thanks in part to more than a decade of preclinical work by Dartmouth researchers, a Japanese biopharmaceutical firm is preparing to develop and market throughout Asia a drug for the treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD). In a deal worth $272 million plus royalties, the firm Kyowa Hakko Kirin bought exclusive rights to the compound bardoxolone methyl - or CDDO-methyl ester (CDDO-Me), in the scientific literature - from Texas-based Reata Pharmaceuticals on Thursday, January 7. The drug belongs to a family of anti-inflammatory compounds called triterpenoids, which chemist Tadashi Honda, Ph.D., began synthesizing at the Dartmouth laboratory of Gordon Gribble, Ph.D., in 1995. Since then, Dartmouth Medical School pharmacologist Michael B. Sporn, M.D., and his lab team have been testing them for bioactivity. Sporn and members of his lab, including co-investigator Karen Liby, Ph.D., found in animal trials that synthetic triterpenoids simultaneously inhibit many kinds of tumor cells, suppress inflammation, and protect healthy, non-cancerous cells.
States are grappling with budget crises and lost revenues that have affected health programs. The Associated Press/(San Jose, Calif.) Mercury News : "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger demanded more federal money in a letter to California's congressional delegation Wednesday, as he highlighted a half-dozen programs that cost the state billions. He criticized some of the state's federal representatives for saying California has created its own budget mess." His plan to close the state's $20 billion deficit, announced last week, depends on extracting $6.9 billion in help from the federal government (Thompson, 1/13). Wisconsin Radio Network : "With $5.9-billion ... spent this fiscal year, Wisconsin's Medicaid programs are one of the largest expenditures in the current state budget." A state lawmaker says "that's why a sweeping audit of the system is needed. She says it's hard to believe problems or even fraud aren't taking place in such a wide reaching program, and the study would help to identify and correct those issues" (Beckett, 1/14).
Virginia Tech researcher Pavlos Vlachos and his students in the College of Engineering have a tall order to tackle: Stem the grim progression of heart disease, which kills hundreds of thousands of people each year in the United States alone. Vlachos, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Advanced Experimental Thermofluid Engineering Research Laboratory, is waging this fight with what he calls his four children. That's not a condescending term for his researchers, but a parental pride in the series of cardiac-related projects he's working on. Vlachos literally treats these research projects as a parent would treat his or her children. "I can't just talk about one, " he says of the lab experiments. Their initiative areas are wide and include better understanding the flow of blood in and out of the heart; improving drug delivery and artery stents; and creating a system that can mimic the sounds of a diseased heart in order to develop sensors that, from vibrations, can form a diagnosis.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Medtronic Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve and Ensemble Delivery System, the first heart valve to be implanted through a catheter, or tube, in a leg vein and guided up to the heart. This new approach to the treatment of adults and children with previously implanted, poorly functioning pulmonary valve conduits can delay the need for open-heart surgery. Conduits are surgically implanted valves used to treat congenital heart defects of the pulmonary valve. Patients with congenital heart defects have narrowed, leaky, or missing pulmonary valves that impede the proper flow of blood from the heart's right ventricle to the pulmonary artery, which then sends the blood on to the lungs for oxygenation. Conduits can have a limited lifespan and often require replacement. The Melody is intended to provide another option to conduit replacement. "The FDA's approval of Melody allows patients to undergo a much less invasive procedure to treat their heart condition, " said Jeffrey Shuren, J.