Neprilysin for the Treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension


Chronic pulmonary hypertension (cPH) is a major clinical problem, complicating most lung and heart disorders including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). PH occurs when the pressure in the arteries of the lung is elevated, increasing resistance for the right side of the heart. This added burden causes shortness of breath, fluid retention and, ultimately, right heart failure. Several forms of PH afflict millions of Americans. The only established therapy for secondary PH (like that seen with COPD) is treatment of underlying conditions, prevention of further injury, and supplemental oxygen. Selected patients with severe PH are treated with expensive drugs that have side effects and are rarely curative. There is need for new approaches.


Neprilysin (NEP) is a cell surface enzyme that degrades bioactive peptides that maintain normal lung vascular function. NEP is widely expressed in pulmonary vasculature. Dr. Edward Dempsey, a Pulmonologist at the University of Colorado, discovered that NEP activity and expression are substantially decreased in human lungs with advanced COPD. He has developed a method of using NEP agonists for the treatment or prevention of PH.


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Mary Tapolsky
University of Colorado
Edward Dempsey
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