March 31, 2015 – Two Pathways


Anchor lead:  Can finding a second pathway to heart failure help patients? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Congestive heart failure kills hundreds of thousands of people each year, largely by one of two aberrant cellular pathways.  While the first has been known for some time, David Kass, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins and colleagues, have just identified the second, where an enzyme known as PDE9 is involved.

Kass: We’re excited by the theoretical possibly now that with a marked upregulation of expression of PDE 9 in the heart of HFPEF patients, about 6 fold a six hundred percent increase, that that suggests that it’s an important contributor to the disease cause what we’re showing in our paper is that we want to inhibit this.  The inhibitor remains to be obviously tested in people but we have drugs that are already through phase 1 safety tests.   :26

Kass’s group also delineated the first pathway and showed that sildenafil, marketed as Viagra, could help.  He hopes interfering with the second pathway will be as straightforward.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.