Copper chelation is a promising new therapy for clogged arteries

Researchers at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI) in Scarborough, Maine, announce their discovery that the renarrowing of arteries following balloon angioplasty can be halted by copper chelation therapy. Preventing the function of copper in the body stops arteries from reclogging following the mechanical stress of removing arterial obstructions through angioplasty. The therapy works by limiting the cellular export of growth factors and cytokines involved in this process.

Gene therapy during angioplasty improves blood flow

In the first study of its kind, researchers show that gene therapy given during angioplasty is safe and improves blood flow to the heart muscle more than angioplasty alone, according to a report in a recent rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. The trial is the first to transfer copies of the gene for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) into the arteries of heart patients during angioplasty. It’s also the first human study that compared two different approaches to inserting the gene into heart cells.