New Drugs from Fish Oil Could Aid Artery Repair

Conte in lab coat by window

Every year, more than half a million Americans undergo procedures to have a narrowed coronary artery propped open with a small metal mesh tube, or stent. However, in about one in four cases (one in three if it's your leg artery), the vasculature tissue starts renarrowing again after the procedure, effectively regrowing the blockage. "When we operate on an artery it always causes an  and a subsequent scarring response just like anywhere else on your body, even the skin," said Michael S. Conte, MD, Chief of Vascular & Endovascular Surgery at UCSF. The problem of excessive vascular scarring isn't limited to stents, but also affects many other common procedures such as angioplasty, bypass surgery, and placement of fistulas or grafts for patients on dialysis. It turns out that when the body heals naturally, it's a two-step process: first, it generates compounds to promote inflammation, and when those wane, the body sends in a second set of compounds that actively stop inflammation. These anti-inflammation signaling compounds are derived in the body from dietary fish oil. Dr. Conte, Vascular Cures' Chief Medical Officer along with Charles Serhan, MD, of Harvard University and a member of our Scientific Advisory Board, and Tejal Desai, PhD, chair of the UCSF Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, are using them to develop treatments to prevent ongoing inflammation in blood vessels. This is the first research project of the Vascular Cures Research Network (VCRN). Read the complete article here. Learn more about VCRN here.