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New discovery to improve the heart health of diabetes patients

March 31, 2013

In a groundbreaking study published today in the leading health research journal Nature Medicine, a team of scientists at Mount Sinai Hospital''s Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute lead by Senior Investigator Dr. Daniel Drucker show how a new drug already helping millions of diabetes patients around the world can also independently help patients lower their risk for heart attacks and strokes, two of the most important complications associated with type 2 diabetes.
The new study demonstrates how a specific class of glucose-lowering drugs, exemplified by the drug liraglutide (marketed under the brand name Victoza) have now been shown to reduce blood pressure through a novel and previously unrecognized action on the heart to stimulate the release of a cardiac hormone that, in turn, lowers blood pressure. Dr. Drucker’s research was instrumental in developing this specific class of diabetes drugs, based on his studies on a digestive hormone called glucagon-like peptide, or GLP-1, which regulates the production of insulin.   
“Heart attacks and strokes are a very significant concern in type 2 diabetes patients - that is why we are excited to publish this discovery. This study re-defines our understanding of glucose-lowering drugs such as liraglutide and their actions in the heart and cardiovascular system,” says Dr. Daniel Drucker, who is also a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto.  “The new clinical trial will offer our patients not only leading care for their diabetes, but also the added benefit of this study’s findings through better management of their blood pressure control.”
In an example of how impactful research can be translated to patient care, as a result of the study, Dr. Drucker is leading a new clinical trial with Mount Sinai’s world-renowned diabetes clinician-scientist Dr. Bernard Zinman, to further examine the impact of liraglutide on patients with high blood pressure.   Diabetics with high blood pressure can sign up for the BOLT(Blood Pressure Outcomes with LiragluTide) study by calling 416-586-8775.
This study in Nature Medicine, which was funded by Novo Nordisk and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, also includes the collaborative efforts of researchers at the Universities of Toronto and Guelph, and the Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan.

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