Developing Novel Therapies for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

(dramatic music) – I’m Nancy Webb, I’m vice
chair of the program committee for the 2016 ATVB/PVD meeting that’s being held now
in Nashville, Tennessee. One of the highlights of our meeting are several sessions on
translational science in vascular medicine. This afternoon, the focus of
one of the sessions will be on abdominal aortic aneurysms, or AAA. Now, AAA is an unmet
challenge in the clinic, it’s actually quite
prevalent in the population. It’s been estimated that
over seven percent of men over the age of 65 are
living with an aneurysm. The incidents in women is
about three to four percent. AAA’s are asymptomatic, and
we’re finding that they’re very challenging to manage. Basically, because there
are no known therapeutics that help resolve the disease. And so, I have two of our
distinguished speakers that will be presenting at our session. One is Christine Pham,
from Washington University in St. Louis. And the other is John Curci
from Vanderbilt University And they’ll be talking about
some of the science that’s going on in this area,
some of the new insights that we’ve had into the disease
and into clinical management So, Christine, you’re going to
be talking about some of the basic science that’s
been going on in your lab that helps us understand AAA? – Right, as Nancy said, the disease presents a challenge to people like Dr. Curci here who is taking care of these patients. We don’t understand the
pathogenesis of the disease very well. That’s one of
the challenges to treatment because most of the pathways,
or the inflammatory pathways, underlying the disease
is not well understood. To further our understanding
of this disease, we have take a model, we have taken the disease, and put it into an animal model, where we can dissect the
different steps along the way and figure out whether or not
we can find specific targets that are amenable to drug therapy something that maybe you
can give to the patient, or administer to the patient, prior to the final dilatation
that requires surgery. So, that is something that
our lab has been focusing on for the last decade or so. We have found several
areas, or several targets, that are potentially drugable, however, translating what we find in
animal models into the clinical realm has been a challenge. Mainly because, stating the obvious, mice and rats are not human, and what works in preclinical models don’t always translate
into clinical successes. There are some ongoing
trials, as Dr. Curci will be talking about,
and he will tell you how those translate from
what we find in the lab to the actual clinical realm. – Dr. Curci maybe you can
tell us about some of the clinical trials that have gone
on and are currently going on – Aortic Aneurysm disease
presents a wonderful opportunity for drug therapy because
there’s a lot of people who have a small abdominal aortic
aneurysm, and it really poses no health risk to them whatsoever, as long as it stays small. Unfortunately, we know that
almost all of them will grow. And once they grow to a
certain size, they do pose a significant health risk to the patient, and requires surgical procedure to repair. The work that’s being done
in basic science labs, like Dr. Pham’s, and Dr. Webb’s, is really on the forefront
of trying to figure out how the disease happens, and how
that growth is happening, so that we have an opportunity to change that disease process from one that requires a
surgical procedure at some point to one that allows the patient
to go through their life without a major operation. There’s a couple trials
that are currently going on, even in this country,
and around the world, one of them being what is
known as the NTACT Trial, or Non-invasive Treatment of
Abdominal aortic aneurysms Clinical Trial, which is using a drug called doxycycline, a
medicine that we’ve been using for years as an antibiotic,
but because of the work that we’ve seen in animals
and in some preliminary work, we think that this may be effective at treating aneurysm disease. But just as Dr. Pham said,
it’s challenging to understand this disease in the humans because it probably is very different. So we’re looking forward to
enrolling more patients into these clinical trials and
answering this important question improving the care of these patients. – So this is an example of some
of the science that’s being presented at our conference
and how the interaction between basic science and clinical science can come together and help solve and address important
clinical problems. (dramatic music)

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