New Hope for Treating Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Sir Magdi Yacoub and Dr. Ibrahim El-Sherbiny

Sir Magdi Yacoub and Dr. Ibrahim El-Sherbiny

A research collaboration between Dr. Ibrahim El-Sherbiny, professor of nano and materials sciences and co-director of the Center for Materials Science (CMS) at Zewail City, Egypt, and Dr. Magdi Yacoub, professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Imperial College London, U.K and his research team at the same college, has led to the development of a new therapeutic nano-formulation that shows promise in treating pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

PAH is a condition in which blood pressure is elevated in the pulmonary arteries that supply blood to the lungs. It is a serious medical condition that leads to progressive right ventricular dysfunction with symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, and chest pain. While being a rare disease, research of causes and treatment of pulmonary hypertension is growing for its high mortality rate.

Nitric oxide (NO) is an essential gas for many biological processes inside the body. And it has been widely used as possible treatment for PAH and other diseases, “However, its short half-life limits its effect and use,” said El-Sherbiny. “Through in-situ generation and entrapping NO into nano-capsules, we managed to extend its half-life and, consequently, its effect,” he added.

Following the fabrication of the nano-formulation at the CMS, the research team at Imperial College London, led by Yacoub, carried out the bio-assessment of the formulation. The team’s experiments showed that the nano-formulation may present, after optimization to extend NO’s half-life further, a viable treatment for PAH.

The team has published part of their study as a short communication in the Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Research. Moreover, this newly developed nano-formulation has been patented in the United States and in Europe.