10 January 2024

A major new study will assess if a beta blocker used to treat heart problems, haemangioma, migraines, and anxiety would benefit sickle cell disease patients, it has been announced.

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine, USA, have been awarded a $3 million grant by the US Department of Defense to evaluate the efficacy of propranolol.

Dr Ankit Desai, associate professor of medicine at the university’s Krannert Cardiovascular Research Center, who will lead the study, said: “Cardiomyopathy or heart damage can predispose patients to a fatal rhythm disturbance called ventricular tachycardia.

“We believe that inflammation plays a key role in both, creating this injurious heart and exacerbating it. We are deeply interested in translating this potential therapeutic to patients, developing a clinical trial and trying to understand the impact R-propranolol, given that propranolol appears to be well tolerated in patients otherwise.”

Propranolol is a mixture of R-prop and S-Propranolol, which are similar in composition but the former does not demonstrate as much beta blocker activity.

Dr Desai said evaluating a therapeutic that has already been used by millions for other diseases could help accelerate the potential use in patients with sickle cell disease more quickly.

“This grant will allow us to study heart injury as well as rhythm disturbance impact in preclinical models of sickle cell disease,” he continued. “The study funds a disease that is underrecognised and underrepresented and supports a broader goal at closing health care gaps.”

He will work with Dr Bum-Rak Choi, associate professor of medicine at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University, on data related to the development of fatal arrhythmias in sickle cell disease.

Source: Indiana University

Link: https://medicine.iu.edu/news/2024/01/sickle-cell-cardiomyopathy-beta-blocker-treatment-research

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