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August 2008 Issue

Sean Collins, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine.
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UC First in Nation to Study Relaxin for Heart Failure

By Angela Koenig
Published August 2008

Medical researchers at UC are the first to enroll a patient in a U.S. clinical trial designed to test the effectiveness and safety of the drug Relaxin for treating heart failure symptoms.

Relaxin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps the human body regulate kidney function and blood pressure.

Heart failure is a chronic condition occurring when the heartís pumping action is impaired. Weakening of the heart as a result of heart failure can lead to fatigue and shortness of breath.

Clinical trials of Relaxin began outside of the U.S. at the end of last year, but UCís emergency medicine department and division of cardiovascular diseases along with University Hospitalís (UH) Center for Emergency Care are the first to enroll a patient in the U.S.

Because acute heart failure treatment most often begins in the emergency room, the study approach from onset to discharge is essential, explains Sean Collins, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine.

ďMost importantly, we expect that if we alleviate heart failure symptoms while minimizing concurrent kidney problems, we should improve patient care,Ē Collins says.

Stephanie Dunlap, MD, associate professor and director of UCís heart failure program, says that if this new therapy is successful, it could lead to lower national health care costs by preventing hospitalizations and decreasing the length of hospital stays.

Dunlap and Collins have no financial interest in Corthera Inc., the sponsor of the study

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