Drug not effective in preventing bypass vein clogging

DALLAS-- A new drug, edifoligide, designed to prevent the clogging of veins used in coronary bypass surgery was no more effective than a placebo, according to the results of a Phase III clinical trial led by researchers at Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI).

In a coronary artery bypass procedure, surgeons typically remove portions of the saphenous vein from patients' legs and use them as conduits to reroute blood around a blockage in arteries supplying blood to the heart. The most common reason for subsequent failure of the grafts is the progressive narrowing of the vein, which is largely the result of a process known as neointimal hyperplasia.

Since veins are structurally different from arteries, the increased pressure and stress on the implanted vein causes proliferation of smooth muscle within the vessel. Edifoligide, an E2F transcription factor inhibitor, showed an ability in earlier studies to block this cellular proliferation.

"The results of our Phase III trial showed that the edifoligide was absolutely neutral in all endpoints when compared to placebo," said Duke cardiologist John Alexander, M.D., who presented the results of the trial Nov. 13, 2005, at the annual scientific sessions of the American Heart Association. The results of the trial are also being published early and online by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Failure of at least one vein graft is quite common within a year of bypass surgery" Alexander said. "While edifoligide had no effect in preventing neointimal hyperplasia, longer-term follow-up and additional research is needed to determine whether the drug has longer-term beneficial effects and to better understand the mechanisms and consequences of vein graft failure."

In response to shear forces and increased pressures in the vein, cells growth increases in the inner lining of the vein. These cells secrete a variety of proteins known as cytokines that modulate the immune response

Contact: Richard Merritt
Duke University Medical Center

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