Saturday, November 24, 2007

Vaccination against Hypertension?

At the just concluded American Heart Association annual scientific meeting in Orlando, Florida, the Swiss team presented their phase 2a study of a vaccine for hypertension. Phase 2 study is essentially one of dosing and safety. They studied 72 patients given an antigen against Angiotensin II, given at day zero, two months and three months. The patients were followed for four months. They tried two dosages and they were compared with a placebo.

The researchers found that the vaccines were safe and the adverse effects were minor. The regime also had a positive effect with good control of blood pressure, especially with the higher antigen dose. Obviously, more study needs to be done, to further test safety and also to get the dosages right.

The idea of a vaccine for a chronic condition like hypertension makes sense. It allows for much better patient compliance. You do not have to take pills everyday and also you may only need to visit your doctors maybe three to four times a year. Obviously, safety is a great concern. Angiotensin II, as part of the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone system, has a purpose and antibodies against angiotensin II, cannot come without a cost. Pregnancies, patients with cardiac and renal conditions, just to mention a few. Well, obviously time will tell, as more studies are done. Certainly the idea is good.

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