The human heart is to the body what an engine is to a car -- the primary motor that keeps the human body functioning. When its ability to pump blood is restricted, its performance decreases and has a negative impact on other parts of the body. This condition is called systolic heart failure, one of the most common cardiac disorders with a significant risk that increases with age. Finding the correct treatment is key to ensuring the heart's ideal performance and improving an individual's overall health.
Utilizing a pharmaceutical treatment for systolic heart failure, developed by Cytokinetics, Inc., that is being tested in clinical trials, new research at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School determined the precise interaction between the drug and the cardiac myosin protein or the cardiac "motor," forming a structure that regulates the contraction of cardiac muscle and allows the heart to efficiently pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. The study was published in Nature Communications.
The research team, led by Donald Winkelmann, PhD, utilized Omecamtiv Mecarbil, or OM, a new drug treatment for systolic heart failure that they knew targeted the cardiac motor protein they had already been researching and that activates the contractions of the heart. The team determined how the drug binds to the cardiac motor so it can modify and improve the performance of the cardiac muscle, giving the heart the ability to pump a sufficient amount of blood throughout the body.
"Identifying the structure of the cardiac motor after OM binds to it is important to understanding the mechanism of the drug's action in improving the performance of the heart's pumping ability and accurately treating systolic heart failure," said Winkelmann, who is a professor of pathology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. "The capacity of OM to 'fine tune' the heart's performance may be an indication of its ability to treat heart disease on a broader scale."
Unlike other treatments designed to relieve the workload on the failing heart, according to Winkelmann, OM was selected for binding to the cardiac motor to restore function and limit the potential for harm to other organs in the body.
Cite This Page: