Pulmonary Hypertension Focus of Med Center Researcher
August 18, 2011 – Yuichiro Suzuki of Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) has discovered differences in gene and protein functioning between the heart’s right and left ventricles, a finding that may lead to better treatment of pulmonary hypertension.
The major cause of death among pulmonary hypertension patients is failure of the heart’s right ventricle, but the biology of this part of the heart is less understood because most diseases affect the left side.
To complicate matters, heart drugs are designed to work on that (left) side, but they don’t work on the right side.
Working with a team of researchers, Suzuki found a very subtle difference in the cell signaling mechanism that may lead to the development of drugs that target right-side diseases such as pulmonary hypertension.
“Pulmonary hypertension is a devastating disease without a cure, and by understanding these tiny differences in cardiac cells, we dream of making a big difference,” says Suzuki, a professor of pharmacology at GUMC.
He has published his findings in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association, and also presented them at the Experimental Biology 2011 meeting in Washington D.C.
Suzuki, whose work is funded by two grants from the National Institutes of Health, came to GUMC from Tufts University in 2004.
A 1991 graduate of the Ph.D. program in physiology and biophysics at the Medical College of Virginia, he completed his second post-doctoral research program at GUMC in 1995.