ROCHESTER, Minn. – More than 100 Scientists and Medical Professionals from around the world are meeting in Rochester this week, working to discover the next generation of drugs which may be used to treat cardio vascular disease.
The 12th International Symposium of Mechanisms of Vasodilatation is being hosted by Mayo Clinic.
During the sessions, experts look at the basic science behind understanding how the body works to see what kinds of substances the body releases that makes blood vessels get bigger, and lower blood pressure.
Thirty years ago, when this meeting was being held at Willow Creek School in Rochester, it was discovered that nitric oxide is a substance that causes blood vessels to relax.
“This was a really key discovery because in the clinic now, that’s used to treat pulmonary hypertension or high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries of infants. But more importantly, a lot of men use this drug because it’s used to treat erectile dysfunction,” explains Dr. Virginia Miller a Professor of Surgery and Physiology at Mayo Clinic.
That finding is an example of how these discoveries can be translated into products like “Viagra” that are used to improve human health.
“A lot of times when we take medications, we take if for granted and we think that it just happens,” adds Dr. Miller. “But when you look at the discovery, for example nitric oxide, it took years before that actually reached the clinical practice. So this conference today is about the next generation of drugs which may be used to help reduce the burden of cardio vascular disease.”
The conference continues Tuesday and wraps up on Wednesday.