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Breakthrough in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Research

last modified Jun 16, 2015 10:12 AM

A study led by Professor Nick Morrell has used a recombinant protein to successfully treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in three animal models and in human endothelial cell cultures. PAH is a debilitating disease that affects the blood vessels in the lungs and leads to heart failure. Currently the only available cure is a lung (or heart and lung) transplant, which has its own risks.

Previously, it has been shown that the bone morphogenetic protein type II receptor (BMPR-II) is key to the normal function of the blood vessels of the lungs, and that the reduced expression of the gene encoding BMPR-II (BMPR2) leads to PAH.

Professor Nick Morrell's group identified BMP9 as the preferred ligand of BMPR-II and found that the administration of BMP9 reversed PAH in three animal models and in human pulmonary arterial endothelial cells received from PAH patients.

This exciting work provides proof of concept for the treatment of PAH through strengthening the endothelial BMPR-II signalling using recombinant BMP9 protein. Next step will be clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of treatment in patients.

More information about this study can be found via the BHF and Nature Medicine websites.

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