A novel combination for heart failure

Lead Researchers: Prof Helge Rasmussen, Dr Chia-Chi Liu, Dr Elisha Hamilton

Heart failure is the leading cause of disability and death in the world. While many drugs are used in treatment, this innovative research has discovered that a new group of drugs, β3-AR agonists (one of which is already used as a treatment for an overactive bladder), are beneficial for heart failure treatment. The team found that administering β3-AR agonists can reduce sodium overload in heart muscle cells and decrease oxidative stress in heart  failure. The team found that sodium export from heart cells was markedly reduced in initial testing. Treatment with β3-AR agonists completely reversed this abnormality and, in parallel reversed the signs of heart failure.

In collaboration with the Department of Cardiology at the National University Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark Professor Rasmussen and his team have conducted a study in humans with severe heart failure. All patients were on maximal conventional treatment as tolerated. They measured cardiac output and resistance to blood flow in the general circulation as well as in the lungs. Patients were given a β3-AR agonist in addition to the conventional treatment or inactive placebo tablets. The human study has been completed and data analysed. Due to confidentiality agreements results cannot be disclosed at present. However, a manuscript is being prepared for submission to a scientific journal and will become publicly available.