The Greek researcher who participated in the research for a pioneering anti-hypertension drug
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The Greek researcher who participated in the research for a pioneering anti-hypertension drug

It is not the first time that Greek scientist, George Bakris, has engaged ellines with his achievements. In 2016, he pioneered his research looking for ways to improve the functionality of arteries with different agents, lowering blood pressure, while also helping in other areas, such as cardiovascular disease more broadly and diabetes management.

This time, George Bakkris, puts the Greek scientific community back in the spotlight, as he participated and led the team that achieved a new, very important medical development. A drug that lowers blood pressure with only one dose per six months.

In this way, patients suffering from hypertension can improve their quality of life as they will be able, with a single dose lasting six months, to stabilise their blood pressure, which is very important given that patients today have to take daily medication.

“Uncontrolled high blood pressure is the leading cause of death and disease, so there is a need for new treatments that provide stable blood pressure control for longer periods of time. This will improve outcomes for people with hypertension. Uncontrolled hypertension also increases the risk of heart disease,” says Mr. Bakris, the study’s lead author and a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medicine.

More specifically, a single injection of the experimental drug zilebesiran was safe and effective in lowering systolic blood pressure in people with mild to moderate high blood pressure for up to six months.

These findings are outlined in the KARDIA -1 Phase 2 study, presented at the American Heart Association 2023 Scientific Sessions on November 11-13, in Philadelphia. Zilebesiran is an investigational RNA interference agent that targets angiotensinogen (AGT), a hormone produced primarily in the liver that helps regulate blood pressure.

The study included 394 patients with a mean systolic blood pressure of 142 mm Hg. Participants were randomised to receive subcutaneous doses of zilebesiran (4 groups: 150, 300 or 600 mg once every six months or 300 mg once every three months) or a placebo.

“Our study shows that either quarterly or semi-annual doses of zilebesiran can effectively and safely reduce blood pressure in patients with uncontrolled hypertension,” Dr. Bakris concluded:

“It is well known that reductions in systolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 5 mm Hg are associated with a reduction in cardiovascular risk. These results reinforce the potential for zilebesiran to provide stable blood pressure control, improve medication adherence through infrequent doses, and subsequently improve outcomes for people with high blood pressure.”

George Bakris is Professor of Medicine and Director of the Comprehensive Hypertension Center at the University of Chicago. He has devoted more than 30 years to research on kidney disease and has made vital discoveries in hypertension and diabetes. He attended Indiana University where he received his B.S. in Biology and Psychology in 1974 and his M.S. in Human Development from the University of Chicago in 1975. In 1981 he graduated from the Chicago Medical School.