A new study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology has shown that a new medication based on resveratrol-a compound found in red wine and nuts-is an effective inhibitor of several potential targets involved in atrial fibrillation development.
The research, lead by Peter Light (director, Alberta Diabetes Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada), also found that the resveratrol derivative C1 is effective at reducing the duration of atrial fibrillation episodes in a large animal model of inducible atrial fibrillation.
This research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and TEC Edmonton, with additional support from the Centre for Drug Research and Development.
Cardiac Rhythm News spoke to Light on the new drug and the results of the study:
What is the mechanism of this new drug for treating atrial fibrillation?
This new drug (resveratrol derivative C1) targets several different pathways that are implicated in atrial fibrillation. These include several ion channels as well as pathways that cause adverse restructuring of the atria that may lead to atrial fibrillation.
What were the main findings of your study?
The major finding is that we have modified the structure of resveratrol so that the new drug maintains the beneficial properties of resveratrol but is now a very good anti-atrial fibrillation agent.
As far as I am aware, the effects of resveratrol on patients with atrial fibrillation have not been extensively assessed previously. This is the reason why we are modifying the structure so that it will also target known atrial fibrillation pathways while maintaining the well-documented beneficial effects of resveratrol on cardiovascular health. In the paper recently published we demonstrated that our new drug reduces atrial fibrillation episodes duration in an animal model.
What makes this drug different from other antiarrhythmics used to treat atrial fibrillation?
This drug targets multiple pathways involved in atrial fibrillation, not just one or two as it is the case with current atrial fibrillation drugs. Furthermore, as resveratrol is a natural and safe compound we hope that our new drug will show a similar safety profile and improved efficacy compared to current atrial fibrillation drugs.
What stage of drug development are you at now?
We are now making minor modifications to the drug structure so that it will be absorbed better when taken orally and also stay in the bloodstream longer. These studies are going very well and preliminary data look promising.
What is expected in the near future?
In the near future we aim to identify a lead compound that we can then extensively test in the preclinical setting with a view to first in-human trials in two to five years time.