Some of the most commonly used medications, such as antibiotics, are usually administered in low doses, despite the greater therapeutic benefit they possess, because of the risk of arrhythmias. Arrhythmias occur when an individual’s heartbeat becomes irregular, beating either too slow or too fast. Cardiac arrhythmias usually occur when electrical impulses in an individual’s heart aren’t working properly.
A team of researchers from various institutions have discovered a compound that hinders cardiac arrhythmias from occurring when these drugs are given in higher doses, through experimental and computational validation. This will make it easier for these drugs to be administered safely, either alone or in combination, affording patients more therapeutic benefit.
The compound in question, C28, doesn’t interfere with the normal action potential. The researchers’ findings were reported in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” last week.
The group was led by Prof. Xiaoqin Zou, who has specialized in biochemistry and physics; Prof. Ira Cohen, who has specialized in medicine as well as biophysics and physiology; and Washington University’s McKelvey School of Engineering professor, Jianmin Cui. Zou is also a member of the University of Missouri Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center and Institute for Data Science and Informatics while Cohen is the director of Stony Brook University’s Institute for Molecular Cardiology at the Renaissance School of Medicine.
The drugs, which are known to induce arrhythmias and some of which aren’t available in the market, extend the QT interval of an individual’s heartbeat, medically referred to as acquired Long QT syndrome. Apart from predisposing patients to cardiac arrhythmias, the syndrome may also cause sudden death.
For their study, the researchers used IKs, the slow ones, as they are activated during action potential. IKs are one of the two potassium channels; the other is IKr, the rapid one.
As an electrophysiologist, Cohen noted that IKr played a huge role in action potential, explaining that blocking it would result in a long action potential. On the other hand, he continued, IKs didn’t contribute as much to the duration of action potential.
Working together with Zou and Cui, who are both renowned experts in developing new algorithms for the prediction of the interactions of proteins and ion channels respectively, the researchers identified the compound C28 and tested it in ventricular myocytes extracted from a mammal model that expressed similar IKs channel as people.
Through an effective drug design approach, the researchers discovered that the compound didn’t affect atrial muscle cells or the normal action potentials at the same dosage, which means that it could help remove the danger of Q-T prolongation, which will allow the drugs to be used in higher concentrations, thus making them more therapeutic.
If this compound is proved to be efficacious in clinical trials, the discovery could potentially help patients in just the same way as the imaging technology brought to market by Imagin Medical Inc. (CSE: IME) (OTCQB: IMEXF) is helping surgeons obtain better visuals of cancerous tissues during the surgical removal of those tissues.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Imagin Medical Inc. (CSE: IME) (OTCQB: IMEXF) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/IMEXF
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