New data from a small human study of Cytos' blood pressure vaccine has stirred tremendous interest. The vaccine targets the common mechanism for high blood pressure: angiotensin II, a molecule that constricts blood vessels and spawns a hormone that prompts the body to retain water and salt. Currently, drugs either inhibit angiotensin II or prevent its production.
In Cytos' case, the new vaccine relies on virus-sized particles coupled with receptors that bind to the same molecule, alerting the immune system to attack the virus particles and the angiotensin II that it's coupled with. Because the therapeutic effect lasts much longer than current therapies, infrequent injections would be able to replace the daily doses of drugs which are required now but often skipped by patients. In the study of 72 patients, researchers found that the injection worked best in the morning.
"We hypothesize that the antibodies function like a sponge, which 'sucks up' all the generated angiotensin molecules," says Cytos CSO Martin Bachmann. "Since little angiotensin II is generated during the night, the sponge is 'empty' early in the morning, and therefore functions best at this time."
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