26 Aug Medical College researchers receive new grants to enhance discovery of heart-protecting anesthetics
Wauwatosa, Wis. — The Medical College of Wisconsin has received a five-year, $1 million grant to study the mechanisms by which inhaled anesthetics protect the human heart against injury from interruptions in blood flow like those occurring during heart surgery. The college also has received a grant for the study of xenon and heart injuries.
Zeljko Bosnjak, Ph.D., professor and vice chairman of anesthesiology and professor of physiology, is the principal investigator.
A team of basic science researchers at the Medical College Department of Anesthesiology first described this heart-protective phenomenon in the late 1990s. Their new National Heart Lung and Blood Institute grant will fund more laboratory studies of the phenomenon. Their findings may help to develop methods for preconditioning human hearts with anesthetics before patients undergo heart surgery, according to the college.
Martin Bienengraeber, Ph.D., assistant professor of anesthesiology, pharmacology and toxicology at the college, is the principal investigator for another new grant to examine and define how the gas xenon protects the heart from injury when disrupted blood flow is restored. The $120,000 grant, from the Linde Co. of Sweden, will fund research investigating the mechanism of cardiac protection by xenon. A better understanding of how xenon interacts with the heart may lead not only to safer anesthetic agents, but also to new therapies for ischemic heart disease, the college said.