Recently published positive results should help the troubled fields of stimulating angiogenesis and gene therapy move ahead. Jeffrey Isner, professor of medicine and pathology at Tufts University School of Medicine and colleagues have shown that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF165) delivered via a naked DNA vector directly into the heart improved blood flow to ischemic areas of the heart (P.R. Vale et al., "Left ventricular electromechanical mapping to assess efficacy of phVEGF165 gene transfer for therapeutic angiogenesis in chronic myocardial ischemia," Circulation, 102:965-74, Aug. 29, 2000). This is the first study using objective findings that has demonstrated gene therapy success in cardiovascular patients, indicates Isner. During the Phase I trial, the average number of angina attacks among the 13 participants dropped from 48 per week before gene therapy to two per week six months after. Average use of nitroglycerin tablets to fight chest pain fell from...

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