Cui to seek better drugs for irregular heartbeat


Irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, affects about 5 million people in the United States, and interestingly, some of the drugs used to treat the condition also can cause it. A biomedical engineer at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis is going deep into the basic mechanisms that lead to arrhythmia to ultimately find potential new drug candidates.

With a four-year,$2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Jianmin Cui, a professor of biomedical engineering, will study the mechanisms of how voltage, the lipid PIP2 and a protein known as calmodulin (CaM) work together to activate the potassium ion channel in the heart that controls heart rhythm.

By further understanding these ion channel mechanisms that control the electrical signaling in the heart, Cui and his team can look for target locations within the channel that may be a good site for new treatment options.

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