Drug could reverse pulmonary arterial hypertension

Researchers partly funded by NHLBI have identified a drug that could treat, and perhaps reverse, pulmonary arterial hypertension, a severe lung disease with a five-year survival rate of 50 percent. The findings were published in the American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine.

According to the researchers, this drug inhibits a gene called HIF-2α, which they discovered earlier promotes the progressive thickening of the lung artery walls – a key feature of pulmonary arterial hypertension called “vascular remodeling,” which leads to right-sided heart failure, the main cause of death in patients with this condition.

In recent research, they have demonstrated that inhibiting HIF-2α with a compound reverses pulmonary arterial hypertension, suppresses vascular remodeling and right heart failure, and increases the survival rate among these patients.