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Published on 7 July 2009

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Heart-treatment drug breakthrough


A breakthrough in the use of a nitrogen compound for treating heart disease has been made by a research team at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, US.

They had previously found that nitroxyl, associated with the blood-vessel-relaxing compound nitric oxide, is effective at strengthening the heartbeat.

But studying its action in cells has proved difficult because the elements it is created from – nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen – react too readily with other molecules.

But a Wake Forest team led by Professor S Bruce King has now used constituent compounds not present in normal cell biology to produce a reaction that yields nitroxyl chemical markers.

This will allow scientists to discover whether or not the body naturally produces nitroxyl in the same way that it produces nitric oxide.

Being able to detect it will speed up the development of possible treatments. Said Professor King “I think this is a very powerful tool to help in the development of new drugs for congestive heart failure.”

Copyright Press Association 2009


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