UOP Researchers Developing Drug to Combat Form of Heart Failure

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It was one of those “Eureka” moments in the lab of University of the Pacific scientist Dr. Mamoun Alhamadsheh.

“I don’t believe this, I had to repeat this and I had to repeat this personally because I didn’t trust what the student was doing,” Dr. Alhamadsheh told FOX40.

He and his researchers narrowed 130,000 drug molecules down to 200, and then finally one. That one molecule may be the cure for a rare form of heart failure called “Familial Amyloid Cardiomypothy.” It’s a project he’s been working on for five years.

“In the blood you have like 5,000 proteins and this drug goes and binds to this one,” he said.

The disease is a mutation of a protein that absorbs Vitamin A and affects four percent of the African-American populations. The only current cure or even treatment is a heart and liver transplant.

“At the age of 60 it starts falling apart and clumping in the heart muscle, making it large, thick inefficient and within two to three years it causes death,” Dr. Alhamadsheh said.

The drug discovery has already passed animal testing phases with flying colors and is headed from the Stockton lab to human trials.

“Imagine finding a cure for so many people that have this kind of diseases,” said Dr. Alhamadsheh.

The next step in moving the drug from the lab to the hands of the sick is funding, likely somewhere around $5 million to get through FDA Phase One and Phase Two human testing.

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