A study presented at the American Heart Association meeting in Orlando, FL described 72 patients with mild to moderate high blood pressure who were injected with an experimental vaccine. The vaccine, known as CYT006-AngQb works by inhibiting angiotensin II, a molecule responsible for elevating blood pressure.
Decreasing angiotensin II levels is not a new concept. Medications such as ACE inhibitors (ACEI) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) have been used for many years.
The vaccine works by stimulating the body to produce antibodies against angiotensin II.
In this study, blood pressure decreased significantly (systolic drop of 5.6 mm Hg and diastolic drop of 2.8mm Hg). Additionally, the typical rise in early morning blood pressure seemed to be diminished (systolic drop of 25mm Hg and diastolic drop of 13mm Hg). Of note, most strokes and heart attacks occur in these early morning hours. This also is the time of day when many blood pressure medications are at their lowest levels.
One in three Americans suffers from hypertension and 37% of these have uncontrolled blood pressure. Many reasons exist for poor control in those with high blood pressure: cost of medications, difficulty remembering which pill to take and when, "polypharmacy" (multiple pills for the same thing), poor explanations from doctors, etc. Improving compliance could surely lower blood pressure in more people. Any doctor will tell you, the simpler the treatment, the greater the chance of success. Vaccine based therapy requires very little in the way of compliance. A shot in the arm every few months is probably all it would take. There would be no more missed doses of blood pressure medications and difficulty adhering to complicated pill regimens.
No side effects were noted in those who were given the vaccine over a twelve month period.
CYT006-AngQb needs further testing prior to release. Specific concerns are whether people will have side effects or the body will create other ways to increase blood pressure when angiotensin II levels are decreased.
The vaccine is made by Cytos Biotechnology and the study, which involved 65 men and 7 women, was led by Dr. Juerg Nussberger of the University Hospital of the Canton of Vaud in Lausanne, Switzerland. Dr. Nussberger estimated that it would take another 5-10 years before the vaccine would be ready for widespread use.
Published On: November 19, 2007