In a new study funded by the British Heart Foundation, researchers at the University of Edinburgh have identified a new target for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The research published in the journal Science Signalling indicates that this newly discovered target could result in better treatments for PAH.
PAH is a serious condition which currently affects around 6500 people in the United Kingdom. There is no definitive cure for the condition and available treatments are only effective in resolving symptoms. These drugs are also associated with side-effects such as nausea, limb pain, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
Scientists studied muscle cells from pulmonary arteries in mice and human cell clones. The findings revealed that existing drugs used in the treatment of PAH could be used to regulate a new calcium channel called TPC2. The authors say they could be used as a template for the development of new drugs for PAH.
According to the study leader Professor Mark Evans, the research findings strongly suggest that existing drugs for PAH, including nifedipine and rapamycin, could be modified effectively by exploiting their interactions with the TPC2 channel.