Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Breakthrough treatment for blocked arteries (Canada)
"Dr. Bradley Strauss, Chief of the Schulich Heart Centre and Reichmann Chair of Cardiovascular Sciences, has launched the world's first clinical trial of a groundbreaking treatment for patients with coronary arteries that are completely blocked by plaque. The new therapy is the first biological solution ever developed to treat chronic total occlusions (CTOs). It involves injecting the enzyme collagenase into a blocked artery to soften the plaque so a cardiologist can perform traditional angioplasty to re-open the artery to blood flow. Angioplasty can greatly relieve symptoms such as chest pain and difficulty breathing, which are commonly experienced by patients with CTOs and can improve their quality of life almost immediately. Unfortunately, the success rate of the procedure using traditional methods is very low. "In many cases, the blockages are like cement and it is impossible to get a guide-wire through them," says Dr. Strauss. "This leaves many CTO patients with few treatment options," he adds, which is why Dr. Strauss is conducting the first-ever clinical trial to test the safety and effectiveness of this new treatment. Early results of the trial are extremely promising. To-date, Dr. Strauss has performed the procedure on 19 patients with an 85 per cent success rate. The clinical trial is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)"