Yale researchers reported in the April issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation that they have found a “biological bypass,” a new way of treating coronary artery disease caused by plaque buildup.
“Successfully growing new arteries could provide a biological option for patients facing bypass surgery,” said lead author Michael Simons, M.D. ’84, chief of cardiovascular medicine and the Robert W. Berliner Professor of Medicine.
Researchers have used growth factors to generate new arteries, not always successfully. Simons and his team stimulated arterial formation in mice and zebrafish by switching on and off two signaling pathways. “One-half of the signaling pathway inhibits the other. When we disable the inhibitor mechanism, we are able to grow arteries,” said Simons. “This opens the possibility of developing a new class of medication to grow new arteries. The next step is to test this finding in a clinical trial.”