MIPS researchers PIK out a new drug target to reduce heart attacks

Researchers from Monash University’s Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) together with other Monash and international collaborators have discovered a new target for drugs that could potentially prevent heart attacks and strokes by preventing clot formations before they can cause irreparable damage.

The study was led by Associate Professor Justin Hamilton from Monash University's Australian Centre for Blood Diseases and co-authored with MIPS researchers Professor Philip Thompson, Dr Simon Mountford, Xiao (Corey) Ma, Dr Zhaohua (Joyce) Zheng, and Dr Ian Jennings from the Medicinal Chemistry Theme.

HM

The drug target, phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3KC2α) was identified using a MIPS-developed inhibitor, MIPS-21335. The team reported that MIPS-21335, by inhibiting PI3KC2α, can act as an effective antithrombotic, minimising the risk of pathological blood clotting, one of the key risks associated with heart attacks and strokes.  When studied in animal models, MIPS-21335 blocked platelet-triggered clots from forming in response to the changes in blood flow from vessel blockages that precede a heart attack. Importantly, normal blood clotting was preserved, which is a crucial part of safe therapy.

The study, published in high-impact journal Science Translational Medicine paves the way forward for new preventive medications for heart attacks and stroke, conditions which have not had any new drugs in close to 20 years.

Co-author Professor Philip Thompson says: “These findings hold a lot of promise for the development of a new class of medications for a large proportion of the Australian community. Identifying new drug targets is hugely important in improving future health outcomes against these prevalent cardiovascular diseases.”

The team’s next step will be to develop safe and effective drug candidates to take into lead to clinical studies.