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Protecting against heart attack: The beat goes on thanks to erythropoietin

Ischemic heart disease remains the primary cause of morbidity and mortality in the Western world. Current therapeutic strategies are aimed at relieving the ischemia by opening blocked arteries; however, no current therapies can directly protect the heart and ensure ongoing heart function. Faced with this challenge, Walter J. Koch and fellow researchers at Duke University Medical Center, North Carolina, have developed a strategy whereby delivery of erythropoietin (EPO), shortly after ischemic injury, was shown to enhance heart function and prevent subsequent smaller attacks by inhibiting cardiac myocyte cell death.

These results, reported in the October 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, demonstrate that a therapeutic window of opportunity may exist in which a single dose of EPO following myocardial infarct, cardiac surgery or other acute coronary syndromes may offer acute protection as well as long term preservation of the ischemic and infarcted heart.


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Contact: Brooke Grindlinger
science_editor@the-jci.org
212-342-9006
Journal of Clinical Investigation
1-Oct-2003


Page: 1

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