As reported in Science Daily April 10, 2009 edition, scientists are testing a drug called Sorafenib (Nexavar- Bayer Inc.) which has shown improvement in the condition of rats with portal hypertension. Sorafenib has been approved in several countries for the treatment of liver or kidney cancer. The article suggests that it may be time to consider the treatment for patients of “advanced” portal hypertension.
The research, led by Dr. Mercedes Fernandez from the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona Spain, examined the effects of sorafenib on rats with portal hypertension induced by partial portal vein ligation or bile duct ligation. The drug which can be taken orally, inhibits growth of new blood vessels. For those with tumors, the drug works to inhibit the the growth of new blood vessels which keep the tumor alive once it reaches a certain size. This type of drug is referred to as an angiogenesis inhibitor. Vascular formation is the trademark of portal hypertension, so to arrest this is key to slowing down the process of new formation, and decreasing portal pressure.
The rats in the study were given sorafenib orally every day for a period of two weeks. There were no apparent adverse effects, but there were marked transformations in their condition. There was an 80 percent decrease in the growth of new blood vessels and a considerable lessening of circulation in the areas around the liver. Portal pressure was decreased by 25 percent, and liver fibrosis and inflammation improved.
The author’s concluded, “Taking into account the limitations of translating animal study results into humans, we believe that our findings will be stimulating for consideration of sorafenib as an effective therapeutic agent in patients suffering from advanced portal hypertension”.
Although this research is a bona fide step forward, I will endeavor to keep tabs on any future developments pertaining to this research and the use of Sorafenib. Time will tell what if anything may come of this as far as possible any treatment protocol’s are concerned?