University of Sheffield Cardiovascular Research Unit lead world's first trial of new heart attack drug treatment

  • Heart attack patients may benefit from a new rapid anticlotting medication that can be given as a single injection
  • Sheffield researchers led a study showing that selatogrel has a very rapid onset of action in patients with heart disease and may have ideal qualities for heart attack treatment

Clinical study blood sampling

Research has shown that a new drug, selatogrel, may provide an alternative treatment for patients during the early stages of a heart attack.

Professor Rob Storey, the Cardiovascular Research Unit team at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have led the first international study of selatogrel in patients with heart artery disease.

Oral drugs currently in use can take hours to work, particularly in patients who require pain relief such as morphine for their heart attack; but the study found selatogrel may provide a solution to this.

Results from the selatogrel study, which were presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Paris in September 2019 and have now been published in the European Heart Journal, the world’s leading heart journal, show that a single subcutaneous injection of selatogrel has a very rapid anticlotting effect within 15 minutes of administration, lasting for up to eight hours. This is ideal for providing an anticlotting effect during the early stages of a heart attack.

Additionally, anticlotting medication is also critical in preventing blood clots from blocking off a stent when a heart attack patient requires further treatment. A stent is a tiny mesh tube that is inserted into affected, or clogged, arteries and expands to keep them open, reducing the chance of further heart attacks by allowing the blood to flow more freely around the heart.

Hence, as current oral anticlotting drugs can take hours to work, the study shows selatogrel would also be particularly ideal for those patients who require emergency heart artery stenting.

Professor of Cardiology at the University of Sheffield and Academic Director and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Rob Storey, was the Chief Investigator for the study which was carried out in 18 centres around the world and included 345 patients.

He said: “In Sheffield, we have led the way in the development of more effective anticlotting medications for heart attack, which has markedly reduced the risk of stent blockage and further heart attack. However, we have also discovered that the onset of anticlotting effect of oral drugs can be delayed by more than six hours in heart attack patients, particularly when they have required painkillers such as morphine.

"We have been searching for a solution to this problem and now have characterised the properties of a new drug, selatogrel. These properties seem ideal for the heart attack setting in order to ensure prompt and reliable anticlotting effect. We can now move ahead with larger studies of selatogrel and see if it provides even more effective and safe treatment of heart attacks.”

Additional information

  • The fully published paper can be viewed in full here.
  • The study was conducted by Idorsia Pharmaceuticals, the discoverer, developer and manufacturer of selatogrel, in collaboration with the University of Sheffield. Details about Idorsia Pharmaceuticals can be found here.
  • Details about the study can be found here.

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