Investigating the Truth About Afib

Posted by Michael Gralinski, Chief Executive Officer at CorDynamics on September 29th, 2011

AFib, AF, Atrial Fibrillation, — It’s the most common cardiac arrhythmia, affecting millions of individuals. Patients with AF rarely exhibit symptoms and are at a five-fold increased risk of stroke due to thrombosis from stagnant flow in the atrium. With such a target profile, the condition is a hot area for drug developers.

As with many disease states, the path toward targeted efficacy is fraught with hurdles. With AF, one of the long-standing 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.

One way of investigating test articles from both a safety and discovery perspective is to use an instrumented animal equipped to provide information on complete cardiac electrophysiology. These models are effective since they provide a detailed interrogation on these parameters, alongside tolerability and PK/PD information.

For a more in-depth look at how an in vivo model can provide a comprehensive safety and discovery investigation in one experiment, check out our abstract to be presented at the 2012 Safety Pharmacology Society meeting in Innsbruck. We used chronically instrumented dogs to demonstrate the doses of both flecainide and dronedarone that result in changes with atrial, but not ventricular, refractoriness.

Getting to the heart of atrial fibrillation will go a long way in helping researchers make good scientific decisions and drug companies make good business decisions so physicans can guide patients in making the best health decisions.

 

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