A single dose of an investigational anti-inflammatory drug called inclacumab considerably reduces damage to heart muscle during angioplasty (the opening of a blocked artery), according to a recent international clinical trial spearheaded by Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, Director of the Research Centre at the Montreal Heart Institute, affiliated with the University of Montreal. Presented today in San Francisco at the prestigious American cardiology conference, these findings show great promise.
"Inclacumab could indeed become an integral part of the therapeutic arsenal of modern cardiology if we can reproduce these results in subsequent studies. We could use the drug for a broader patient population, or for all patients who present with a heart attack, but this will require further study," explained Dr. Tardif, lead investigator of the study and also professor of Medicine at Université de Montréal.
Reducing the risk of complications after angioplasty to treat heart attack
Each year, approximately 35,000 coronary artery angioplasty procedures are conducted in Canada and more than 1 million are conducted in the United States to treat atherosclerosis. This condition occurs when the arteries are obstructed with deposits of fat (cholesterol), calcium and cellular waste. Over time, the arteries lose their elasticity and narrow, which slows down or blocks blood flow. Because of the resulting complications (angina, heart attack, stroke, etc.), patients may ultimately need an angioplasty, which is a percutaneous intervention that dilates the narrowed artery to re-establish blood flow. However, heart tissue can become damaged during an angioplasty, and an inflammatory cascade can lead to other complications.
A single dose may provide benefits
For this clinical study, Dr. Tardif and his team compared the effects of a single dose of this new anti-inflammatory drug with placebo. Inclacumab is an antibody that blocks P-selectin, a molecule that drives inflammation and plays an important role in vascular disease.