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Blockade of Orexin Signalling in Hypertension (The BOSH Study)

Professor Gemma Figtree, Institution: University of Sydney

2018 Vanguard Grant

Years funded: 2019-2020


High blood pressure is the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality globally. The benefits of blood pressure lowering in reducing cardiovascular events is unequivocal. Yet, control of high blood pressure is poor, with only 1 in 3 on treatment achieving blood pressure targets.

Discovery of new mechanisms driving hypertension in some individuals may allow for personalised and more successful therapeutic approaches, with profound impact on cardiovascular outcomes.

Orexin signalling plays an important role in hypertension in preclinical models. Our research will address its potential role in human hypertension, and the therapeutic opportunity that we may have in antagonising this with the clinically available insomnia treatment- suvorexant. This completely innovative approach, driven by a cross-disciplinary team, may provide a much-needed relief for patients with hypertension, particularly where resistant to multiple standard pharmacotherapies.

Initially, we will test the hypothesis in patients with co-existing insomnia and hypertension. Given the clinical agent is approved for human use by FDA and the TGA, the translation of the biological knowledge to clinical benefit is greatly facilitated, and feasible within the time and budget limitations of the Vanguard program. This gives us a high chance of translating fundamental discovery to benefit cardiovascular health.

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