Posted by Marisa Dowling
1 in 3 American adults has high blood pressure, predisposing these individuals to stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure. Despite effective medicines, only 1 in 4 patients has their blood pressure consistently controlled due largely to poor drug regimen adherence. Preliminary results from the lab of Dr. Juerg Nussberger of University Hospital of the Canton of Vaud, Switzerland show promising treatment for hypertension in the form of a vaccine.
Angiotensisn II, a molecule in the blood, causes vessel contriction leading to high blood pressure. Current drugs prevent the synthesis of angiotensisn or keep it from binding to its receptors. The drug levels in the blood need to be kept at certain levels to work, requiring constant ingestion. The vaccine, made up of a non-infectious particle shaped like a virus and chemically-combined with angiotensin II, would replace the need for taking pills daily as the vaccine would induce the body to attack the virus and create antibodies to angiotensin II in the process. The body would thereby regulate angiotensin II on its own. This effect has been shown to last for months
The data currently presented, however, only considers results from 72 patients. And though results find the vaccine safe and effective, larger studies will be needed to confirm these results and lack of side effects.