Researchers at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Sheba Medical Center have developed a new method for treating atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The treatment prevents heart failure by reducing inflammation in the cardiovascular system and plaque in the arteries.
According to the 2015 Lancet Global Burden of Disease Report, 56 million deaths around the world each year result from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Atherosclerosis is caused by high blood pressure, smoking or high cholesterol, and damages the thin layer of cells in the arteries called “endothelium” that keep blood flowing smoothly. This damage causes plaque to form in the arteries and can eventually lead to heart failure.
“Our E-selectin-targeting polymer reduces existing plaque and prevents further plaque progression and inflammation, preventing arterial thrombosis, ischemia, myocardial infarction and stroke,” said Prof. Ayelet David of the BGU Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmacology.
This new treatment developed by Israeli researches reverses arterial damage and strengthens muscle in the heart. Although there are several different treatment options for atherosclerosis, researchers said the new Israeli-developed method goes further by actually reversing arterial damage and rehabilitating the heart muscle.
Additionally, the polymer-based Israeli treatment has no side effects because it specifically targets only damaged heart tissue and does not damage healthy tissue—unlike statins, the current leading method for treating atherosclerosis. Researchers said the new method could also have “life-changing benefits for millions of people” suffering from diabetes, hypertension and other conditions.