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      New therapies for the treatment of heart failure: a summary of recent accomplishments

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          Despite continuous efforts to prevent cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), heart failure prevails as the number one cause of death in developed countries. To properly treat CVDs, scientists had to take a closer look at the factors that contribute to their pathogenesis and either modernize current pharmaceuticals or develop brand new treatments. Enhancement of current drugs, such as tolvaptan and omecamtiv mecarbil, sheds new light on already-known therapies. Tolvaptan, a vasopressin antagonist, could be adopted in heart failure therapy as it reduces pre- and afterload by decreasing systolic blood pressure and blood volume. Omecamtiv mecarbil, which is a myosin binding peptide, could aid cardiac contractility. The next generation vasodilators, serelaxin and ularitide, are based on naturally occurring peptides and they reduce peripheral vascular resistance and increase the cardiac index. In combination with their anti-inflammatory properties, they could turn out to be extremely potent drugs for heart failure treatment. Cardiotrophin has exceeded many researchers’ expectations, as evidence suggests that it could cause sarcomere hypertrophy without excessive proliferation of connective tissue. Rapid progress in gene therapy has caused it to finally be considered as one of the viable options for the treatment of CVDs. This novel therapeutic approach could restore stable heart function either by restoring depleted membrane proteins or by balancing the intracellular calcium concentration. Although it has been set back by problems concerning its long-term effects, it is still highly likely to succeed.

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          Serelaxin, recombinant human relaxin-2, for treatment of acute heart failure (RELAX-AHF): a randomised, placebo-controlled trial.

          Serelaxin, recombinant human relaxin-2, is a vasoactive peptide hormone with many biological and haemodynamic effects. In a pilot study, serelaxin was safe and well tolerated with positive clinical outcome signals in patients with acute heart failure. The RELAX-AHF trial tested the hypothesis that serelaxin-treated patients would have greater dyspnoea relief compared with patients treated with standard care and placebo. RELAX-AHF was an international, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, enrolling patients admitted to hospital for acute heart failure who were randomly assigned (1:1) via a central randomisation scheme blocked by study centre to standard care plus 48-h intravenous infusions of placebo or serelaxin (30 μg/kg per day) within 16 h from presentation. All patients had dyspnoea, congestion on chest radiograph, increased brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) or N-terminal prohormone of BNP, mild-to-moderate renal insufficiency, and systolic blood pressure greater than 125 mm Hg. Patients, personnel administering study drug, and those undertaking study-related assessments were masked to treatment assignment. The primary endpoints evaluating dyspnoea improvement were change from baseline in the visual analogue scale area under the curve (VAS AUC) to day 5 and the proportion of patients with moderate or marked dyspnoea improvement measured by Likert scale during the first 24 h, both analysed by intention to treat. This trial is registered at, NCT00520806. 1161 patients were randomly assigned to serelaxin (n=581) or placebo (n=580). Serelaxin improved the VAS AUC primary dyspnoea endpoint (448 mm × h, 95% CI 120-775; p=0·007) compared with placebo, but had no significant effect on the other primary endpoint (Likert scale; placebo, 150 patients [26%]; serelaxin, 156 [27%]; p=0·70). No significant effects were recorded for the secondary endpoints of cardiovascular death or readmission to hospital for heart failure or renal failure (placebo, 75 events [60-day Kaplan-Meier estimate, 13·0%]; serelaxin, 76 events [13·2%]; hazard ratio [HR] 1·02 [0·74-1·41], p=0·89] or days alive out of the hospital up to day 60 (placebo, 47·7 [SD 12·1] days; serelaxin, 48·3 [11·6]; p=0·37). Serelaxin treatment was associated with significant reductions of other prespecified additional endpoints, including fewer deaths at day 180 (placebo, 65 deaths; serelaxin, 42; HR 0·63, 95% CI 0·42-0·93; p=0·019). Treatment of acute heart failure with serelaxin was associated with dyspnoea relief and improvement in other clinical outcomes, but had no effect on readmission to hospital. Serelaxin treatment was well tolerated and safe, supported by the reduced 180-day mortality. Corthera, a Novartis affiliate company. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Natriuretic peptides, their receptors, and cyclic guanosine monophosphate-dependent signaling functions.

            Natriuretic peptides are a family of structurally related but genetically distinct hormones/paracrine factors that regulate blood volume, blood pressure, ventricular hypertrophy, pulmonary hypertension, fat metabolism, and long bone growth. The mammalian members are atrial natriuretic peptide, B-type natriuretic peptide, C-type natriuretic peptide, and possibly osteocrin/musclin. Three single membrane-spanning natriuretic peptide receptors (NPRs) have been identified. Two, NPR-A/GC-A/NPR1 and NPR-B/GC-B/NPR2, are transmembrane guanylyl cyclases, enzymes that catalyze the synthesis of cGMP. One, NPR-C/NPR3, lacks intrinsic enzymatic activity and controls the local concentrations of natriuretic peptides through constitutive receptor-mediated internalization and degradation. Single allele-inactivating mutations in the promoter of human NPR-A are associated with hypertension and heart failure, whereas homozygous inactivating mutations in human NPR-B cause a form of short-limbed dwarfism known as acromesomelic dysplasia type Maroteaux. The physiological effects of natriuretic peptides are elicited through three classes of cGMP binding proteins: cGMP-dependent protein kinases, cGMP-regulated phosphodiesterases, and cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channels. In this comprehensive review, the structure, function, regulation, and biological consequences of natriuretic peptides and their associated signaling proteins are described.
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              Calcium Upregulation by Percutaneous Administration of Gene Therapy in Cardiac Disease (CUPID): a phase 2 trial of intracoronary gene therapy of sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase in patients with advanced heart failure.

              Adeno-associated virus type 1/sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase was assessed in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 study in patients with advanced heart failure. Thirty-nine patients received intracoronary adeno-associated virus type 1/sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase or placebo. Seven efficacy parameters were assessed in 4 domains: symptoms (New York Heart Association class, Minnesota Living With Heart Failure Questionnaire), functional status (6-minute walk test, peak maximum oxygen consumption), biomarker (N-terminal prohormone brain natriuretic peptide), and left ventricular function/remodeling (left ventricular ejection fraction, left ventricular end-systolic volume), plus clinical outcomes. The primary end point success criteria were prospectively defined as achieving efficacy at 6 months in the group-level (concordant improvement in 7 efficacy parameters and no clinically significant worsening in any parameter), individual-level (total score for predefined clinically meaningful changes in 7 efficacy parameters), or outcome end points (cardiovascular hospitalizations and time to terminal events). Efficacy in 1 analysis had to be associated with at least a positive trend in the other 2 analyses. This combination of requirements resulted in a probability of success by chance alone of 2.7%. The high-dose group versus placebo met the prespecified criteria for success at the group-level, individual-level, and outcome analyses (cardiovascular hospitalizations) at 6 months (confirmed at 12 months) and demonstrated improvement or stabilization in New York Heart Association class, Minnesota Living With Heart Failure Questionnaire, 6-minute walk test, peak maximum oxygen consumption, N-terminal prohormone brain natriuretic peptide levels, and left ventricular end-systolic volume. Significant increases in time to clinical events and decreased frequency of cardiovascular events were observed at 12 months (hazard ratio=0.12; P=0.003), and mean duration of cardiovascular hospitalizations over 12 months was substantially decreased (0.4 versus 4.5 days; P=0.05) on high-dose treatment versus placebo. There were no untoward safety findings. The Calcium Upregulation by Percutaneous Administration of Gene Therapy in Cardiac Disease (CUPID) study demonstrated safety and suggested benefit of adeno-associated virus type 1/sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase in advanced heart failure, supporting larger confirmatory trials. Unique identifier: NCT00454818.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                22 January 2019
                : 15
                : 147-155
                [1 ]Department of Physiology, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland, pawand@
                [2 ]Department of Periodontology, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Andrzej Pawlik, Department of Physiology, Pomeranian Medical University, al Powst, Wielkopolskich 72, 70-111 Szczecin, Poland, Email pawand@
                © 2019 Machaj et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.



                heart failure, therapy, cardiovascular diseases


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