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Boston Biomedical Research Institute Scientists Discover Promising New Therapeutic Target For Heart Disease

7/11/2006 10:22:24 AM

WATERTOWN, Mass., July 10 /PRNewswire/ -- In the July 2006 edition of the American Journal of Physiology -- Heart and Circulatory Physiology, scientists at the Boston Biomedical Research Institute identified Puma (p53 upregulated modulator of apoptosis) as a potential new target for the therapeutic intervention of heart disease. In recognition of the possible clinical ramifications of this work and the scientific communities' interest in the search for novel therapeutics, the American Journal of Physiology also released an editorial review focusing on this study and the role of Puma in heart disease.

Heart disease is the leading cause of morbidity for both men and women in the United States, and the demand for effective alternatives is high. In their study, Dr. Ambrus Toth, Dr. Phil Nickson, and their principle investigator Dr. Peter Erhardt, all of the Boston Biomedical Research Institute, described how the targeted removal of Puma -- a recently discovered cellular protein involved in the promotion of programmed cell death, otherwise known as apoptosis -- protects hearts against the damage caused by myocardial infarction. Based on these observations, Dr. Toth and his colleagues propose that specifically blocking the activity of Puma in the heart could promote the recovery of heart disease patients.

In the American Journal of Physiology editorial review, Dr. Keith Webster recognizes the importance of Puma in heart disease and compares it to other candidate therapeutic targets, such as BNIP3 and Noxa. Dr. Webster also speculates on how emerging data may be connected, and how they should be advanced from scientific observations to viable therapeutics.

Dr. Charles Emerson, director of Boston Biomedical, is extremely pleased that the importance of Dr. Toth's work has been recognized, saying, "This success is a great example of how the pursuit of scientific concepts can lead to the development of novel therapeutics."

The Boston Biomedical Research Institute is a not-for-profit institution dedicated to the understanding, treatment, and prevention of specific human diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease. For more information visit us on the web at

Boston Biomedical Research Institute

CONTACT: Terence McGowan of Boston Biomedical Research Institute,+1-617-658-7707,

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