In the near future, it may be enough to make a couple of injections a year to keep blood pressure under control. The drug will block the action of the hormone leading to hypertension.
Japanese researchers at Osaka University have developed a unique vaccine for the treatment of hypertension, which can be done only twice a year. If widely introduced into medical practice, it will free many millions of hypertension patients from having to take pills every day. The vaccine blocks the effects of the hormone triggering blood pressure increase due to the contraction of the muscles surrounding the blood vessels.
This hormone known as angiotensin II causes the muscles to contract regularly, which gradually leads to a reduction in blood vessels’ lumena and, consequently, lowers blood permeability. The blood moving in such vessels exerts more pressure on the walls, which increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
The vaccine causes the immune system to produce antibodies preventing angiotensin II from getting into the muscles. Currently, the development of such a vaccine for hypertension treatment has passed the second stage of clinical research – the drug has been tested on laboratory mice. During the tests, the scientists were able to successfully lower blood pressure in rodents, keeping it at a safe level for six months after the injection.
As calculated by the researchers, human tests will begin within the next two years.