Co-author Colin Funk, a professor of Biochemistry and Physiology at Queen's, and Canada Research Chair in Molecular, Cellular and Physiological Medicine has expressed optimism of finding a new league of anti-inflammatory drugs that will help tide over this side-effects issue. The success rate of testing it on mice is a fore runner to it being tested on humans. The study is published in the on-line edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Selective inhibitors of COX-2 such as Vioxx, Bextra and Celebrex carry an increased risk of heart attack and stroke; there has been in-depth study on comprehending the reasons for this occurrence. Co-author with Dr. Funk on the study is Dr. Garret FitzGerald, director of Penn's Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics. Funding comes from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and a grant from Merck.
"The trials showed that COX-2 inhibitors confer a small, but absolute cardiovascular risk using the same mechanism by which they relieve pain and inflammation," Dr. Funk reports.
"Selective inhibitors of mPGES-1 may retain much of the benefit of drugs like Vioxx and Celebrex, while diminishing the risk of heart attack and stroke by having precisely the opposite effect on prostacyclin [a protective fat that Vioxx and Celebrex depresses]," says Dr. FitzGerald.