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Antibiotic, Gene Therapy Help Treat Angina

According to researchers, patients suffering from Angina may have some new treatment options involving either gene therapy or doses of antibiotics. Angina, a common cardiovascular disorder affecting millions of people all over the world, is severe chest pain caused by blood vessels too clogged to get oxygen-rich blood to the heart during// physical activity. Current treatment involves either medication or for more serious cases, rerouting the blood vessels perhaps with bypass surgery.

New treatments, however, are under development. In one such study, researchers tested gene therapy to see if inserting genes to help create new blood vessels could effectively treat angina patients. Dr.Cindy Grines of William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., studied 80 men and women, average age 55, with mild to moderate angina. The gene, a human growth factor gene called FGF4, was delivered via an inactive virus called Ad5 into 60 of the patients. The remaining 19 patients received a placebo. Among the gene therapy group, the patients on average had suffered from angina for 56 months, while the placebo group had endured angina for an average of 27 months.

All study participants underwent an exercise treadmill test prior to receiving treatment and then again after. At the beginning of the study, treadmill time was an average of 9.4 minutes for the placebo group and 9 minutes for the gene therapy group. After four weeks of treatment, exercise time for the placebo group only extended by 0.7 minutes, but the gene therapy group lengthened their exercise time by an average of 1.3 minutes. Even the 50 sickest patients of the group that received gene therapy improved their exercise time by 1.6 minutes compared to 0.6 minutes among the most severe cases in the placebo group.

The gene therapy essentially worked like jumper cables to jump start new blood vessel growth. This in turn improved blood flow during exercise, explained cardiologist Dr. Robert Engl
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