January 1, 1970 (Vol. , No. )

John Sterling Editor in Chief Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

University of Florida scientists have identified a drug compound that dramatically lowers blood pressure, improves heart function and, in a remarkable finding, prevents damage to the heart and kidneys in rats with persistent hypertension.

Dr. Ostrov, an assistant professor in the department of pathology at the University of Florida College of Medicine, discusses the details of the study. Noting that it has only recently come to be appreciated that angiotensin converting enzyme or ACE and ACE2 play an important role in balancing the activity of each other to maintain normal blood pressure, Dr. Ostrov talks about the search by his team for a compound to boost the activity of ACE2, which the researchers believed would have a beneficial effect on the heart.

He goes on to explain how the use of a supercomputer to process 140,000 prospective drug compounds in a matter of weeks ultimately led to the discovery of the promising lead compound.