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Heart Failure Society of America's 10th Annual Scientific Meeting, Sept. 10-13, 2006

Heart Failure Society of America's 10th Annual Scientific Meeting

The Heart Failure Society of America's 10th annual scientific meeting took place Sept. 10-13 in Seattle and drew about 3,000 attendees from around the world. The meeting featured the first public presentations of data on promising new heart-failure treatments, discussions of new treatment guidelines and a debate about how to make health care more affordable.

"This has been a spectacular meeting," said conference spokesperson John Teerlink, M.D., director of the Heart Failure Clinic at the University of California, San Francisco. "We've gotten to the point where early trial data are being presented at the meeting, which is very exciting."

Several late-breaking studies presented new approaches in the treatment of heart failure. Among them was the first Phase 1 clinical trial of Cytokinetics' CK-1827452, a novel cardiac myosin activator. When Teerlink and colleagues administered the drug intravenously to healthy volunteers, they found that the maximum tolerated dose (0.5 mg/kg/hr) produced a mean increase in left ventricular ejection fraction of 6.8 absolute percentage points and a mean increase in fractional shortening of 9.2 absolute percentage points compared to placebo.

"All the patients started with normal heart function and we were able to dramatically improve it," Teerlink said. "Since the discovery of foxglove extract, or digitalis, we've been looking for other drugs that can improve heart function. It looks like we may have finally found a way to do that with CK-1827452."

Another late-breaking study presented results of the 2,400-patient ACCLAIM trial, which tested Vasogen's Celacade, an immune modulation therapy for patients with heart failure due to systolic left ventricular dysfunction. Guillermo Torre-Amione, M.D., medical director of the Heart Transplant Program at Methodist DeBakey Heart Center, and colleagues found that Celacade use in selected patients reduced the risk of death or first cardiovascular hospitalization by 31 percent and reduced total days in hospital for cardiovascular cause by 32 percent compared to placebo.

At the meeting's opening plenary session, researchers addressed the declining affordability of health care, citing statistics showing that the mean number of medications taken by heart failure patients increased 12 percent between 1999 and 2001 to 10 per day while there was a corresponding 20 percent increase in prescription prices. Kevin Grumbach, M.D., of San Francisco General Hospital, said the solution was universal health care while Robert Moffitt, M.D., of the Heritage Foundation, argued in favor of the private sector.

Other discussion topics included the society's new treatment guidelines, which were released earlier this year. "They will certainly have an impact on the care of patients," Teerlink said, "and are available at our Web site and in convenient pocket guides that doctors can carry with them wherever they want."

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HFSA: Researchers Compare Left Ventricular Assist Devices

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