MS drug may prevent heart failure
New research from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Medicine has found that a drug approved to treat multiple sclerosis shows promise for treating cardiac hypertrophy. This is a condition that involves the thickening of the heart muscle and often leads to heart failure. As the heart muscle thickens, the interior volume of the heart shrinks, forcing the heart to work harder to pump a diminishing volume of blood.
But in the study, the MS medication, known as FTY-720, appeared, in mice, to lead to less stiffening of the heart muscle and overall improved cardiac function. The drug also blocked the activity of a protein that can cause cardiac hypertrophy.
The drug is a fungus derived from a traditional Chinese medicine, where it is used as an eternal-youth serum. The compound is currently approved to treat multiple sclerosis and is a chemical cousin of a drug that is widely used as an immunosuppressant to prevent rejection following an organ donation.
Due to the relatively common nature of cardiac hypertrophy and its potentially fatal consequences, the discovery of a possible treatment could have a significant impact. The researchers hope that FTY-720 can be used to prevent heart failure in patients who developed it both as a result of high blood pressure and genetics.