New Cancer Treatment Drug Could Potentially Treat Atherosclerosis, Study Shows

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NYU Grossman School of Medicine researchers have established that saracatinib, a drug initially studied for lung disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer treatment could potentially address atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition where fatty deposits accumulate in blood vessels and harden into plaques potentially causing heart attacks and strokes.  

Harmful blood fats lowering drug shows promise in ASCVD treatment

The researchers examined blood samples from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) individuals who were on statins, a popular drug for lowering harmful blood fats. They then compared the samples to healthy donors’ blood to pinpoint genes linked to immune response and inflammation.

Numerus genes were analyzed and results showed that saracatinib can considerably reduce inflammation signaling by more than 90% in diseased tissue and human blood. Therefore this indicates its potential as a therapy for patients unresponsive to regular statin treatment. Furthermore, saracatinib also enhances the activity of genes that eliminate artery plaque deposits, making it a valuable option for ASCVD treatment.

Saracatinib was tested on rabbits and mice and it showed significant results. For instance in rabbits, plaque-based inflammation was reduced by about 97% compared to untreated animals. on the other hand in mice, inflammation-related cells in plaques decreased by 80%, and plaque deposits reduced by 48 to 70%, depending on the dose amount.

Reverse engineering applied to discover new uses for existing medication

Senior study author Chiara Giannareli said that their reverse engineering approach of finding new uses for medications could be harnessed to discover therapies for almost any inflammatory disease. He added that considering most drugs have passed safety checks, the approach offers a fast and cost-effective way for pharmaceutical development.

Although saracatinib shows promise in treating inflammatory conditions linked to ASCVD like Type II Diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, researchers argue that clinical trials are necessary to ascertain its efficacy and safety. It is important to note that despite the drug’s promising findings in animal models, it still requires more testing to establish its efficacy and safety in humans.

Saracatinib reduces inflammation, aids plaque removal, and may benefit high-risk patients, improving their heart attack outcomes.

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