A shot that reduces blood pressure: the latest frontier in the treatment of hypertension
According to a research published in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association, in the future we might have a vaccine that helps lower blood pressure for up to 6 months, resulting in a new treatment for hypertension. This new idea comes from Switzerland, and the results of the first trials on humans were officially presented at the 17th Meeting of the European Society of Hypertension.
Studies suggest that this could be an alternative for the treatment of hypertension, which would mean patients would no longer have to take pills every day. Hironori Nakagami, co-author of a study and professor at Osaka University in Japan, stated that the potential of a vaccine against hypertension is to offer an innovative treatment, which could be very effective in the management of non-adherence, one of the major problems in the treatment of hypertension.
The vaccine, identified by the code CYT006-AngQb, was administered to about one hundred hypertensive subjects and was shown to reduce blood pressure levels without significant side effects. Martin Bachmann, of the Swiss company that produces the vaccine, points out that the study has provided the first real proof that the principle works. The idea behind this innovative treatment for hypertension is the same as other vaccines, such as the one against the flu: the organism is stimulated to defend itself against an “enemy”, which in the case of hypertension, is not a virus, but a substance known as angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is a powerful vasoconstrictor that causes the narrowing of arteries, thus increasing blood pressure. This substance is produced within a complex mechanism of blood pressure regulation, known as the renin-angiotensin system, which involves a variety of hormones produced by different organs. The vaccine neutralizes this substance, lowering blood pressure levels.
Enrico Agabiti Rosei of the University of Brescia and President of the Italian Society of Hypertension claims that a treatment of this nature would have the great advantage of increasing adherence to the cure. He states that many patients fail to take the correct doses of their medication, which results in the loss of control over blood pressure. As of today, only 20-25% of hypertensive subjects have their blood pressure under control, and given that hypertension is a risk factor for cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke, the importance of maintaining blood pressure within normal levels should be obvious. Agabiti Rosei also claims that with today’s drugs, maintaining blood pressure within acceptable levels is possible in up to 90% of cases, with the only exceptions being certain complicated cases, mostly in old age, those who suffer from diabetes or take drugs such as amphetamines or cocaine.
Scientific article below (Italian language):