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article imagePlant grown treatment for pulmonary hypertension

By Tim Sandle     Oct 23, 2014 in Science
People suffering with pulmonary hypertension have few treatment options. However, a novel therapy, that has been trialled in animals, has the potential to be an effective therapy.
Pulmonary hypertension occurs when the lungs' arteries tighten up and the heart's right chamber has to work harder, causing it to increase in size. With the condition, the body’s renin-angiotensin hormonal system goes wrong. The hormone system normally regulates human blood pressure. However, when the hormone angiotensin II is over produced, this triggers a rise in blood pressure. Physiological changes make it difficult for the heart to push blood through your pulmonary arteries and into the lungs. As a result, the pressure in the arteries rises.
Risk factors for the disease relate to family history, chronic lung disease and congenital heart defects. The condition can be treated; however medications are very expensive.
A new medication has been developed, which could retail at a far lower cost. The new product targets angiotensin II suppression hormones (angiotensins are peptide hormones that causes vasoconstriction and a subsequent increase in blood pressure.) The medication was formulated inside plant leaves. The material is then extracted, freeze-dried and then encased in capsules.
In studies, Pharmaceutical International reports, the drug has been administered to rats. These studies found that the pulmonary hypertension levels in the rats dropped by around 20 percent. After two weeks of administration, the pressure levels inside the rats decreased by a further 12 percent. The rat based-trials not only produced pulmonary hypertension pressure drops of more than 30 percent, the drug further helped to improve heart function. The studies were conducted by the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
The next phase is to move towards clinical trials involving people.
More about Plant, Hypertension, Pulmonary, Lungs
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