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Vaccines could fight blood pressure

A new report suggests that vaccines could eventually replace traditional treatments for high blood pressure.

The initiative, which was reported in The Lancet medical journal, would see patients being immunised against a natural protein that constricts blood vessels.

By using the immune system to counteract the protein, flow through blood vessels is improved and blood pressure is reduced.

Swiss and German researchers described promising results from a pilot trial of a vaccine, CYT006-AngQb, which acts against the protein angiotensin II.

A group of 72 patients with mild-to-moderate hypertension were randomly given one of two doses of the injected vaccine, or an inactive placebo.

Patients given the higher dose saw their systolic blood pressure drop by nine millimetres of mercury, while diastolic pressure fell by four millimetres of mercury.

The team, which was led by Dr Martin Bachmann, from Cytos Biotechnology in Schlieren, Switzerland, said the vaccine injections would only need to be given a few times a year, and could simply be administered during regular check-ups.

They said: "Such a regimen is likely to promote adherence to treatment, but will need to be supported by clinical data."

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The Lancet

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