by Tony Wang
(High Blood Pressure/Hypertension Volunteer Co-ordinator
The Insidermedicine Project
Queen’s University Canada )

(March 7, 2008 – Insidermedicine) An new vaccine is showing some promise for the treatment of high blood pressure, according to research published in The Lancet.

Here are some facts about high blood pressure:

• Also called hypertension, high blood pressure refers to blood pressure over 140/90 mm Hg.

• Uncontrolled hypertension can contribute to the development of several serious health conditions, including stroke, heart failure, heart attack, kidney failure, and vision problems.

• If you have hypertension, your physician may prescribe one, two, or even more drugs to help control it. It is important to take these medications as prescribed, even if your hypertension was not causing you any symptoms, in order to prevent long-term health problems.

Researchers from Cytos Biotechnology in Switzerland tested a new vaccine called CYT006-AngQb, which targets angiotensin II, also a common target of blood pressure lowering drugs. They divided 72 individuals with mild-to-moderate high blood pressure into one of three groups. The first group received three 300 mcg injections of the vaccine, the second group received three 100 mcg injections of the vaccine, and the third received a placebo. All participants had their blood pressure monitored over a 24-hour period before starting treatment and again after treatment was completed.

After 14 weeks, those who received the higher dose of the vaccine had a lower average daytime blood pressure than those who received the placebo. They also had a much lower early morning surge in their blood pressure than those given placebo. The vaccine was also generally well-tolerated, with most side effects being limited to temporary soreness or swelling at the injection site or mild flu-like symptoms.

The authors conclude that a vaccine against angiotensin II that only needs to be injected a few times a year can lower blood pressure, particularly the morning surge in blood pressure that is associated with many cardiovascular events.