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New Research Sheds Light on Potential Drug Target for Heart Failure Patients –

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New Research Sheds Light on Potential Drug Target for Heart Failure Patients –

May 19
18:12 2023
The University of Auckland highlighted significant findings concerning heart failure and breathing issues

ATHENS, Greece – May 19, 2023 – Recent research led by the University of Auckland, New Zealand has revealed a possible new target for therapeutic interventions in heart failure.

“The study found that the carotid body, an oxygen-sensing organ, produced bursts of nerve activity linked to breathing problems in male rats with heart failure. The researchers also discovered that the P2X3 receptor played a pivotal role in producing these bursts of nerve activity.” said Dr. Ilham Kaffa, cardiologist in Athens

Notably, when the P2X3 receptor was blocked using a specific drug, these nerve activity bursts ceased, leading to an improvement in both breathing and heart function.

“Heart failure is a condition that affects over 6 million people in the United States alone and is responsible for over 8% of all heart disease-related deaths,” said Dr. Ilham Kaffa. “This research is critical because it opens up new pathways for treating this widespread and often debilitating condition.”

This novel study provides fresh insight into how the carotid body and its associated nerve activities influence heart failure. The research team’s identification of the P2X3 receptor’s role could potentially pave the way for innovative therapeutic approaches.

Dr. Julian F.R. Paton, Professor of Translational Physiology at the University of Auckland, pointed out the importance of the findings, stating, “These sympathetic nerve signals are beneficial when you need to increase your heart rate in a threatening situation, but in heart failure, they become detrimental, reducing blood flow to the heart and causing the heart muscle to thicken and stiffen, worsening its pump performance.”

While removal of the carotid bodies has been found to improve heart function in both rats and humans with heart failure, this approach has potential risks and could disrupt important bodily functions. Therefore, the prospect of developing a drug to inhibit the P2X3 receptor activity provides a promising avenue for treatment.

“We have a long way to go, but these initial findings are encouraging,” added Dr. Kaffa. “They underscore the importance of continued research in the field of cardiology to improve patient outcomes.”

About Dr. Ilham Kaffa

Dr. Ilham Kaffa is a cardiologist based in Athens, Greece. She has dedicated her career to helping patients with heart conditions improve their quality of life. 

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