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New Biomarkers for Heart and Lung Disease Found

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News

New Biomarkers for Heart and Lung Disease Found

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New blood biomarkers reflecting vasoreactivity in lung blood vessels of patients with heart and lung disease, can lead to simplified diagnostics and better evaluation of treatment for patients with the condition pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

 “We have discovered that the biomarkers that we have investigated have a particularly high diagnostic value in PAH. These biomarkers have the potential to be used as a routine diagnostic strategy and in the evaluation of PAH patients. The levels of these markers are reflecting the clinical efficacy of PAH specific medical treatment, so there is hope that they can soon be used routinely to measure treatment response. The results are so far based on around 20 PAH patients, which means that more research is necessary on larger patient groups,” says Anna Sandqvist, doctoral student at the Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Neuroscience and author of the dissertation.

PAH is an unusual heart- and lung disease that first and foremost affects the finest branches of the arteries in the lungs. The arteries are thickened and become stiff, the blood flow is reduced which leads to hypertension and hypoxia of the pulmonary arteries. Both heart and lung functions are affected and many patients develop right heart failure. PAH is a very serious condition which, at present, has a poorer prognosis than many cancers and there are only a few appropriate methods for treatment and evaluation.

Today, PAH patients are treated with medications that dilate the blood vessels and, hence, reduce the pulmonary artery pressure. Anna Sandqvist has studied a new drug to treat this disease called vardenafil. Vardenafil belongs to the same group of pharmaceuticals as Viagra and can be used both in diagnostics and in the treatment of PAH.

“Vardenafil has a fast onset and powerful effect on the blood vessels of the lungs. If vardenafil is used in combination with the endothelin receptor antagonist bosentan, another pharmaceutical often used by patients with PAH, the effect of treatment can be hampered and lead to the need of increasing the dosage of vardenafil. Therapeutic drug monitoring may thus become necessary to check the pharmaceutical concentrations in the blood in order to optimise the dosage,” says Anna Sandqvist.

This article has been republished from materials provided by Umea University. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

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