Sivelestat: The researchers at Mayo Clinic have found a new drug therapy that can cure a fatal condition related to cirrhosis and other chronic liver diseases. The study was published in the journal Gastroenterology on March 11, 2019.
Cirrhosis is one of the acute liver diseases. It happens when cells in the liver are damaged and our body can no longer repair them. The disease, cirrhosis slows down the blood flow, which puts a restain on the portal vein. As a result, it causes portal hypertension also known as high blood pressure.
Currently, there are therapies and treatments available to cure liver diseases such as hepatitis C and autoimmune hepatitis. However, when it comes to treating portal hypertension, there are limited options available in the market.
For this study, the research was conducted on a mouse model to check the drug sivelestat which may effectively lower the high blood pressure.
By using this drug, scientists were able to lower the high blood pressure by impeding the neutrophil (inflammatory cells). Neutrophils are responsible for the formation of fibrin, which are microvascular blood clots, that cause high blood pressure.
Thus, this drug proved to be effective in decreasing high blood pressure. It has also improved the symptoms and the overall result of those patients who were suffering from liver diseases.
Dr. Vijay Shah, the study author, and a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist said, “This has been an interesting validation of our results and their human disease applicability. In patients with acute lung injury and bronchopulmonary dysplasia, sivelestat has been used securely.”
Additionally, he said, “This indicates a potential means of decreasing of portal hypertension in patients with chronic liver disease because of sivelestat and comparable drugs.”
Moira Hilscher, M.D., the paper’s first author, said, “Neutrophils had not previously been identified as significant drivers of portal hypertension. The research opens up the opportunity for new medicines to be developed and current compounds repurposed to target inflammation in the liver caused by mechanical forces related to disease.”
She explained, “This is obviously an unmet need given the growing incidence of advanced liver disease owing to alcohol and obesity.”
According to the researchers, so far sivelestat has proved to be effective in humans for the treatment of acute lung injuries. Researchers have now claimed that it can also help in lowering blood pressure and might be able to cure patients who are suffering from chronic liver diseases.
Nonetheless, this drug therapy has opened new doors for further investigation specifically targeting the life-threatening liver diseases.