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EXPERIMENTAL 'SUPER ASPIRIN' BLOCKS HEART ATTACKS FOLLOWING ANGIOPLASTY, STUDY FINDS

 ANAHEIM, Calif., March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- A nationwide study of 2,099 people with coronary artery disease at high risk for complications following balloon angioplasty has found an experimental drug called 7E3 to reduce by 40 percent the occurrence of heart attack and the need for emergency repeat angioplasty, researchers at the American College of Cardiology meeting announced today.
 The results are the first clinical validation of the importance of this platelet receptor and suggest that 7E3 may be a pivotal way to reduce complications in high risk patients, which account for at least 10 to 20 percent of all angioplasty patients in the U.S., or 40,000 to 50,000 Americans each year.
 The experimental drug, also known as CentoRx (Centocor; Malverne, Penn.), is an intravenous preparation of an antibody that prevents the closure of heart vessels after balloon angioplasty. The drug 7E3 blocks a critical receptor on the surface of cells responsible for blood clumping and clotting.
 Fifty-eight medical centers across the U.S. participated in the trial, called the Evaluation of IIb/IIIa Platelet Receptor Antagonist (7E3) in Preventing Ischemic Complications (EPIC). All patients in the study, including the control group, also received conventional treatment with the blood-thinner heparin. The study was directed by Robert M. Califf, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center and Eric J. Topol, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Cardiology at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
 This is an extremely important new therapy for reducing the serious risk associated with non-surgical coronary intervention procedures," Califf said.
 According to Califf, the major adverse effect of 7E3 was an increase in bleeding complications, but these were not serious, life-threatening episodes. There also was a two-fold risk of needing a blood transfusion associated with 7E3, but a more stringent protocol aimed at decreasing transfusions most likely would have been effective in lowering that risk. "Importantly, patients who underwent emergency surgery with 7E3 on board had no excessive bleeding," Califf said.
 "This is a breakthrough for a whole new class of drugs in cardiovascular medicine," Topol said. "For the first time, we have a much more potent anti-platelet drug than aspirin for special, high risk patients."
 Both Califf and Topol believe the new therapy will be extremely helpful in improving the safety profile of coronary interventions in selected patients with excessive risk of developing blood clots and having a heart attack.
 -0- 3/16/93R
 /CONTACT: Elaine DeRosa, Division of Health Affairs, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 216-444-0141/


CO: The Cleveland Clinic Foundation ST: Ohio IN: HEA SU:

BM -- CL017X -- 6744 03/16/93 16:44 EST
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Date:Mar 16, 1993
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