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Trial results promising for new anti-clotting drug

Research published online yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine shows a novel anti-clotting drug to be superior at preventing blood clots during coronary stenting procedures compared to the currently used medication.

The study included about 11,000 patients from 153 centers around the world and was led by co-investigators Robert Harrington, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine at Stanford, and Deepak Bhatt, MD, at Harvard. The results of the trial, which were presented at the American College of Cardiology conference in San Francisco yesterday, showed that the drug, called cangrelor, reduced the odds of negative outcomes from stenting procedures such as blood clots, heart attacks and strokes, by 22 percent when compared to the routinely used anti-platelet drug clopidogrel (tradename Plavix).

We need a very potent agent to prevent clotting when we are putting things in the heart artery like wires and stents. We want a fast acting reversible agent, which is why a drug like cangrelor could be useful and why we tested it.

Coronary artery stents are used in the majority of patients who undergo percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). In the United States, an estimated 600,000 of these procedures are done per year on patients who suffer from  coronary artery disease, which causes arteries to become narrowed or blocked.

In our press release, Bhatt comments on why the discovery of a new drug like this is important to patients. He said, “We need a very potent agent to prevent clotting when we are putting things in the heart artery like wires and stents. We want a fast acting reversible agent, which is why a drug like cangrelor could be useful and why we tested it."

New Jersey-based The Medicines Company, which makes cangrelor, sponsored the study and plans to apply for FDA approval of the drug following the results of this trial.

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