Harnessing deadly fumes to reverse heart disease?

August 3rd, 2012 - 4:36 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 3 (IANS) Scientists may have hit upon a unique method to open up clogged arteries and reverse heart disease — using toxic chemicals in vehicle exhaust fumes for the purpose.

Ian Megson, 44, professor from the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) and his team are working on the use of toxic chemicals carbon monoxide and nitric oxide to widen blood vessels and prevent blood clots.

Megson said releasing the normally poisonous toxins into the heart in miniscule amounts blocks the body’s ability to clot and relaxes arteries, dilating them and permitting more blood to flow through.

The treatment is hoped to benefit patients suffering from heart attacks and strokes and was developed by fine-tuning machines used to measure car exhaust emissions in garages, the Daily Mail reported.

The experiments, which aim to successfully deliver the gases and measure their impact, are being carried out by chemists at St. Andrews University and Megson’s team at the UHI using pig hearts.

Megson said: “We are the first to do this. We are using chemical amounts one million times smaller than that released in car exhaust fumes, so very tiny quantities, which when delivered to a specific area can have a beneficial impact on the patient. It is at a very early stage in development but has huge potential.”

“Carbon monoxide and nitric oxide are found in car exhaust fumes but they are also found in the body in very small amounts. Each of the gases has a beneficial effect and we believe that delivering them all at the same time could have an even greater impact and we think the organic frameworks are a way to do that,” added Megson.

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