- A cardiac arrhythmia occurs when the heart beats irregularly.
- The most common type of cardiac arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation, which can lead to stroke or heart failure.
- Researchers from the University of Chicago have found a drug used to treat certain cancers and skin conditions can be repurposed to help treat cardiac arrhythmias.
A person experiences a cardiac arrhythmia when their heart beats too quickly, too slowly, or irregularly.
The most common type of cardiac arrhythmia is called atrial fibrillation. This occurs when the upper and lower chambers of the heart become uncoordinated, affecting blood flow.
Sometimes atrial fibrillation can lead to severe complications, such as stroke and heart failure.
Previous research shows about
Now, researchers from the University of Chicago have found a drug used to treat certain cancers and skin conditions called
This study was recently published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
For this study, researchers began by looking for potential
“CaMKII is abundant in
“For example, CaMKII contributes to heart rate increases and improved muscle performance, as part of a ‘fight or flight’ stress response,” he said.
“However, excessive CaMKII activity causes electrical instability of the heart muscle cell membranes — mostly by activating electrical proteins called
During their research, Dr. Anderson and his team identified five previously unknown CaMKII inhibitors out of 4,475 potential medications.
Of those five, ruxolitinib was reportedly the most effective, which, Dr. Anderson said, was surprising to them.
“First, we did not have a clear expectation that any of the screened drugs would have potently inhibited CaMKII,” he said.
“That said, we were not surprised that a kinase inhibitor drug could ‘cross over’ to inhibit CaMKII. However, ruxolitinib is a JAK1/2 inhibitor and these kinases are not closely related to CaMKII. Thus, we would have anticipated that an inhibitor targeting a more closely related kinase would have been identified,” he continued.
Using both cell and mouse models, scientists found just a 10-minute application of ruxolitinib was enough to prevent
Researchers stated they believe new drugs based on their findings could be used in a variety of ways, including when atrial fibrillation
The researchers also mentioned there has been some apprehension in developing therapies targeting CaMKII inhibition as CaMKII plays a vital role in
However, Dr. Anderson and his team reported the mice treated with ruxolitinib did not show any adverse cognitive effects when tested with memory and learning tasks.
“We think this finding may reduce concerns by drug developers in pharma and biotech that CaMKII is not a viable therapeutic target. Off-target actions of CaMKII inhibition on learning and memory have been a major concern,” Dr. Anderson said.
After reviewing this study, Dr. Stephen Tang, a board certified cardiac electrophysiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, who was not involved with this research, told Medical News Today it was “very exciting” to hear about new potential targeted therapies for
“This is an inherited genetic condition that affects calcium release in the heart and often leads to dangerous ventricular arrhythmias. It usually manifests in adolescence and can lead (to)
Dr. Tang commented he always approaches these small animal studies with caution.
“It is a promising proof of concept but involves animals — in this case, mice — and not humans. It is done in a lab and does not always reflect real-life conditions. Certainly, while it shows promise, there needs to be much larger studies (that) will need to show efficacy and safety in both animals and humans to be considered for clinical use,” he said.
Medical News Today also spoke with Dr. Sameer Jamal, a clinical cardiac electrophysiologist and program director of the cardiovascular diseases fellowship at Hackensack University Medical Center, who was also not involved with this research. Dr. Jamal said he was excited and encouraged to hear about this study, as it implies a potential for innovative medicines that will help us better treat cardiac arrhythmias.
“Although this study shows promise, prior use of these agents suggests potential issues (in particular) with toxicities and cognition. Continued evaluation in more carefully conducted, patient-centered settings will hopefully corroborate positive results and mitigate concerns regarding side effects,” he added.
Read the full article here