American Heart Association Take-Away: Still Seeking Truth About AFib

Posted by Michael Gralinski, Chief Executive Officer at CorDynamics on November 17th, 2011

As we’ve discussed in a previous blog, Investigating the Truth About AFib, the path toward targeted efficacy is fraught with hurdles. The reports coming out of the American Heart Association’s Annual Meeting are confirming just that.

Clearly, AFib, AF, Atrial Fibrillation, while being the most common cardiac arrhythmia affecting millions of individuals, is still not commonly understood from a drug development standpoint. Dronedarone, one of the big AHA headliners, is a drug we have used in preclinical investigations as well. In fact, our abstract that was presented at the 2012 Safety Pharmacology Society meeting in Innsbruck featured the use of chronically instrumented dogs to demonstrate the doses of both flecainide and dronedarone that result in changes with atrial, but not ventricular, refractoriness.

Through these types of studies, we are finding one of the long-standing AF roadblocks has been the selectivity of compounds on atrial vs. ventricular electrophysiology. Usually, the goal is to specifically alter the electrical properties of the heart’s upper chambers (atria) while leaving the lower chambers (ventricles) alone. Not nearly enough new chemical entities have this property—thus, the limited good treatment options in this area.

I find much of drug development news features on the negative headlines of drugs that “fail.” As researchers, we learn important discoveries from each study. This ultimately leads us to more effective compounds and gives physicians, a better indication of which medications to prescribe to which patients on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes knowing what doesn’t work, is just as important as knowing what does.

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