If insects had some sort of corporation that I could invest in, I would do it. These critters just keep on diversifying their already impressive medical portfolio.
Enough business, let’s talk medicine. Hypertrophy of the heart (as in idiopathic hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and hypertensive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) is a major cause of congestive heart failure, and current treatments aren’t quite up to snuff. Without a heart transplant, the prognosis for patients with such a heart failure doesn’t look great. Insects bring us a glimmer of hope at UC Davis with their Insect Epoxide Hydrolase Inhibitors. Here’s a snippet from their press release:
Compounds known to play an important role in how insects develop from larvae to adults have been shown in a mouse model for congestive heart failure to be effective in preventing and reducing cardiac cell overgrowth and irregular heart rhythms, according to UC Davis research published in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The research, led by cardiologist and cell biologist Nipavan Chiamvimonvat and entomology professor Bruce Hammock, identifies epoxide hydrolase inhibitors as novel and powerful chemical compounds that block an immune system protein… known to play a role in cardiac cell overgrowth and arrhythmias.
“Enlargement of the heart is one of the most common causes of heart failure in the United States,” said Chiamvimonvat. “Once cardiac failure develops, the condition is irreversible and is associated with a very high death rate. Fifty percent of patients whose heart failure has progressed to include shortness of breath without physical activity do not survive beyond one year. We need a better way to control and prevent enlargement of the heart to improve treatment options for patients and reduce mortality.”
Check out the press release here…