USD medical research featured in journal

USD medical research featured in journal Circulation, the world's leading cardiovascular journal published by the American Heart Association (AHA), has featured breakthrough research by faculty at The University of South Dakota School of Medicine's Cardiovascular Research Institute as its cover story for the July 11 issue.

According to USD School of Medicine researcher Dr. Martin Gerdes, the article, titled "Reverse Remodeling of Cardiac Myocyte Hypertrophy in Hypertension and Failure by Targeting of the Renin-Angiotensin System," focuses on possible drug therapy to cure heart disease, using a rat model of heart failure.

"The importance of this article is that it shows that heart failure, the number one killer in the U.S., is potentially curable at the cellular level with drug therapy," Geredes said. "The key thing is that we have shown that it is possible to administer a drug in the early stage of heart failure and reverse the cellular damage almost back to normal. Cardiologists around the world are reading this article with intense interest. Clinical trials are currently underway to determine if this class of drugs is as affective in humans with heart failure."

The team of USD researchers who submitted the article includes Gerdes, Dr. Tetsutaro Tamura, Dr. Wenyan Lu, Suleman Said and Jennifer Harris. According to Gerdes, hypertension, one of the leading causes of heart failure, is the focus of on-going research by the USD medical school group. The group administered a selection of different drugs to hypertensive rats prone to heart failure, of different ages.

Circulation is a weekly publication of the AHA, with over 23,000 subscribers including cardiologist, cardiovascular surgeons, electrophysiologists, internists, nurses and others medical professions. Illustrations from the article were also featured on the cover of Circulation. "This is a very competitive journal, one of the most difficult journals to get an article accepted in," Gerdes said. "Cardiovascular researchers only submit their best papers because of a 90 percent rejection rate."

"I think this is a reflection of the level of research that has been done," said USD School of Medicine Dean Robert Talley. "This is important research and it shows we can do high national and international levels of research in South Dakota."

The research was initiated on the USD campus in Vermillion and continued at the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the South Dakota Health Research Foundation, based at The University of South Dakota Health Science Center in Sioux Falls.

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