Therapeutic options for coronary artery disease today are based on three principles:
- 1. Medical treatment - drugs (e.g. cholesterol lowering medications, beta-blockers, nitroglycerin, calcium antagonists, etc.);
- 2. Coronary interventions as angioplasty and coronary stent-implantation;
- 3. Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG - coronary artery bypass surgery).
Recent research efforts focus on new angiogenic treatment modalities (angiogenesis) and various (adult) stem cell therapies.
A 2006 study by the Cleveland Clinic found a region on Chromosome 17 was confined to families with multiple cases of myocardial infarction.
A more controversial link is that between ''Chlamydophila pneumoniae'' infection and atherosclerosis. While this intracellular organism has been demonstrated in atherosclerotic plaques, evidence is inconclusive as to whether it can be considered a causative factor. Treatment with antibiotics in patients with proven atherosclerosis has not demonstrated a decreased risk of heart attacks or other coronary vascular diseases.
Since the 1990s the search for new treatment options for coronary artery disease patients, particularly for so called "no-option" coronary patients, focused on usage of angiogenesis and (adult) stem cell therapies. Numerous clinical trials were performed, either applying protein (angiogenic growth factor) therapies, such as FGF-1 or VEGF, or cell therapies using different kinds of adult stem cell populations. Research is still going on - with first promising results particularly for FGF-1 and utilization of endothelial progenitor cells.
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