Rebuilding Ways to a Healthy Heart

Coronary heart disease survival rate improved with gene therapy

(RxWiki News) Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women. It essentially cuts off supplies that the heart needs to keep pumping. 

A recent study found that patients with severe coronary heart disease responded well to a gene therapy injection. Their five to ten year survival rate was also good - in some cases, with better outcomes than just using traditional medical therapy.

"A healthy lifestyle can lower your risk of heart disease."

The gene therapy is called adenovirus encoding angiogenic growth factor. It is injected directly into the heart. It helps rebuild damaged blood vessels that carry much needed supplies to the heart. 

This is good news for patients that are not good candidates for artery bypass surgery. This type of surgery is the most common method for treating heart disease.

Dr. Ronald Crystal, of the Department of Genetic Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, and colleagues led the study to look at long-term outcomes of patients treated with the gene therapy. The study recruited men and women, between the ages of 18 to 85. All participants had similar pre-treatment risks.

There was a total of 31 patients divided into two groups. The first group had the gene therapy in addition to bypass surgery. The second group only received the gene therapy. There was not a control group, which is a group that received no treatment.

Researchers looked at the percentage of participants that were alive at five and ten years.

In the group that had both bypass surgery and gene therapy, 67 percent survived five years and 40 percent were still alive at ten years. The group that only had gene therapy had a 69 percent survival rate at five years and 31 percent at ten years.

While there was no control group, authors noted that, based on the research literature, there was a range of 52 to 59 percent survival rate. This is based on the outcomes three to five years after traditional treatments.

This study was published in the Human Gene Therapy Journal. It was funded by a grant from Lisa and James Cohen Foundations, Qatar Foundation and the Weill-Cornell Medical College. The authors disclosed no conflict of interest.

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Review Date: 
January 3, 2013