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Antibiotic, Gene Therapy Help Treat Angina

er, a consultant to Collateral Therapeutics -- the company that developed Ad5-FGF4. Engler is professor emeritus of medicine at the University of California at San Diego.

Engler said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is also interested in this approach and a multi-center study across the U.S. and Europe is now being put together. In a second study, researchers found blood flow could improve after antibiotic treatment among angina patients infected with Chlamydia pneumoniae.

Co-researcher Dr. Juan Carlos Kaski, a professor of cardiovascular science at St. George's Hospital Medical School, London, England, and colleagues studied 40 men, average age 55, who were randomly assigned to receive for five weeks either azithromycin, a common antibiotic used to treat Chlamydia pneumoniae infection, or a placebo.

To determine azithromycin's effectiveness, researchers measured what they called flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery, how the blood flowed through the arm. After treatment, blood flow improved among the antibiotic group to a baseline of 3 percent, up from 2 percent. The placebo group showed no improvement; their baseline of 3 percent prior to treatment remained stagnant at 2.5 percent five weeks later.

Azithromycin also reduced blood levels of two markers that indicate endothelial dysfunction. Damage to the endothelium, a delicate lining inside the blood vessel, can lead to plaque buildup, which can then contribute to angina. Bacterial infections are believed to cause inflammation of the endothelium.

Both studies were published in the February 26 issue of Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association. "This is mainly a study that has identified that treatment with antibiotics improved the function of the artery," Kaski told UPI.

For many years, scientists questioned the role bacterial infections, particularly Chlamydia pneumonaie, play in cardiovascular disease. "The question was
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