Cleveland Cardiologist Discovers Possible New Heart Failure Therapy

Dr. Saptarsi Haldar
Dr. Saptarsi Haldar

Unlike a heart attack, where the heart doesn't get enough oxygen because of a blockage of some kind, congestive heart failure occurs when a patient's heart is too weak to supply blood to the rest of the body. Often they end up in intensive care multiple times before dying.

It's a disease Cardiologist Saptarsi Haldar sees often. He says he was reading about how a new compound - called JQ1 - was successfully battling cancerous cells, and it crossed his mind that it might benefit HIS patients.

"The drugs that we do use in 2013 for this disease just don't seem to be working because these patients are just bouncing back into the hospital, short of breath and unable to walk, very sick," Haldar says.

So, Haldar set to work. He still saw patients part of the time, but he also spent hours in the labs at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine studying the compounds effects on mice. After two years, he began to see results.

"We found that some of the mice that got JQ1 had hearts that were really healthy and vigorous appearing as if they had never been stressed at all. … We knew we were on to something big when we first saw that," Haldar says.

Haldar believes the compound was working at the molecular level to stop what was causing the heart's failure. And - as a result - he hopes the paper out today will spur more research and possibly a drug that can keep patients from showing up in intensive care.

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