Scientists Investigate New Drug Therapy

Published Online: Monday, March 1, 2004

Researchers are working on a new class of calcium channels?T-type channels that are known to work only in muscles outside the heart?to treat high blood pressure. Calcium channel blockers are used to slow the rate at which calcium passes into the heart muscle and vessel walls. This relaxes the vessels so blood flows more easily through them and lowers blood pressure. Any new medication that may result from the latest research, however, would be designed to increase the activity of calcium channels, rather than block them, according to the article in Science (November 21, 2003). The most surprising finding is that the calcium channels the researchers investigated were not supposed to have anything to do with heart muscle cells, said lead researcher Kevin Campbell, PhD.

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