We've updated our Privacy Policy to make it clearer how we use your personal data. We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. You can read our Cookie Policy here.


Common Blood Pressure Drug May Improve Chemotherapy Response to Leukemia

An assortment of pills.
Credit: iStock.
Listen with
Register for free to listen to this article
Thank you. Listen to this article using the player above.

Want to listen to this article for FREE?

Complete the form below to unlock access to ALL audio articles.

Read time: 1 minute

Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine found that a targeted gene therapy may make acute myeloid leukemia (AML) more sensitive to chemotherapy, while also protecting the heart against toxicity often caused by cancer treatments.

Acute myeloid leukemia is the most common type of leukemia in adults and the resulting chemotherapy treatment can put patients at an increased risk for cardiac damage. Associate Professor of Medicine Dr. Xunlei Kang and PhD students Yi Pan and Chen Wang led a study looking at similarities between leukemia and cardiovascular disease. They found a shared target -- AGTR1, a receptor responsible for cell reproduction, was overabundant in the blood cells of patients with leukemia.

The researchers used losartan, a common medicine for treating high blood pressure, to inhibit the AGTR1 receptor in mice. This disrupted cancer growth, slowing the development of leukemia and led to longer survival. The next step is to further investigate losartan’s effectiveness in treating human leukemia patients.

Want more breaking news?

Subscribe to Technology Networks’ daily newsletter, delivering breaking science news straight to your inbox every day.

Subscribe for FREE
“Mouse models of leukemia differ from human disease in several ways, including differences in the immune system, the bone marrow microenvironment and responses to treatments,” Pan said. “We will now carefully interpret and validate these findings in human studies to ensure translational relevance,” Pan said.

If these findings are confirmed in human clinical trials, the approval process to use losartan would be shorter compared to other medications, since it’s already FDA-approved and will not require comprehensive data about the drug.

 “When we treated mice with the AGTR1 inhibitor losartan, we observed that this commercially available drug shows great promise in reducing AML development while protecting against chemotherapy-induced cardiotoxicity,” Kang said. “This finding shows great potential to both enhance the success of chemotherapy while protecting the heart.”

Reference: Pan Y, Wang C, Zhou W, et al. Inhibiting AGTR1 reduces AML burden and protects the heart from cardiotoxicity in mouse models. Sci Transl Med. 2024;16(752):eadl5931. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.adl5931

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source. Our press release publishing policy can be accessed here.