Local research team successfully reverses symptoms of potentially fatal heart disorder
- POSTED: 17 Sep 2013 13:37
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A local research team has successfully reversed the symptoms of a potentially fatal heart rhythm disorder, called the Long QT syndrome 2.
SINGAPORE: In a world first, a local research team has successfully reversed the symptoms of a potentially fatal heart rhythm disorder, called the Long QT syndrome 2.
The National Heart Centre Singapore team found that a drug -- ALLN -- can completely reverse the effects of the disorder.
Long QT syndrome is an inherited genetic condition, which affects about 1 in 5,000 people in Singapore, causes people to develop a sudden, uncontrollable and dangerous heart rhythm. Symptoms include fainting spells, seizures and sudden cardiac deaths.
Using a patient's own skin stem cells, the team tested various drug compounds and found that ALLN could reverse the effects of Long QT syndrome 2.
The next step for the research team is to test the drug's toxicity as well as its side effects. The research team hopes to test the drug in clinical trials in three years.
Currently, there is no cure for long QT syndrome, and it is usually managed through medications and lifestyle changes.
To prevent sudden cardiac death, patients with long QT syndrome may also be implanted with an automated implantable cardioverter defibrillator, which delivers electrical shocks to reset the heart rhythm when the heart rate reaches dangerous levels.
However, National Heart Centre Singapore's Research and Development Unit director, Associate Professor Philip Wong said with time, this could change.
Assoc Prof Wong said: "The condition is actually caused by only one gene mutation, so it's a single gene mutation. We are working on this with drugs, but at the same time we are thinking that if we can correct that single gene mutation, we can in fact completely cure this patient without the need for drugs."
"Thus, we chose single gene mutations to study because we are also working on a potential gene therapy for this patient."
The research team said using patient-derived heart cells has helped them to shortlist drug compounds efficiently, which puts them on a faster road to the development of new cures for life-threatening conditions.