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Drug Shown to Improve Cell Energy, Muscle Function

Hands of older person

(Steve Buissinne, Pixabay)

Updated 22 September 2016. Results of a clinical trial show an experimental drug boosts cellular energy and improves skeletal muscle functions of older adults. Findings from the trial testing the drug elamipretide developed by Stealth BioTherapeutics in Boston were presented on Saturday at a meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America in Orlando, Florida.

Stealth BioTherapeutics develops therapies for disorders related to malfunctioning mitochondria, the energy source in cells. When mitochondria do not function properly, cells have reduced energy and produce excess oxidation, putting increased stress and causing damage to cells and associated byproducts, including nucleic acids and proteins. Malfunctions in mitochondria can affect a range of different organs and functions, and are associated with disorders such as heart failure, kidney injury, and skeletal muscle diseases.

Stealth Bio developed the drug elamipretide as a systemic drug, given by injection under the skin or intravenous infusion. Elamipretide is designed to penetrate cell and outer mitochondrial membranes and boost cardiolipin, a natural oil in the body that provides stability to enzymes involved in producing cellular energy. The company says its preclinical studies show elamipretide penetrates these cell membranes, promotes energy production, and reduces oxidative stress.

The clinical trial, conducted in Seattle, recruited 40 individuals age 60 to 85 showing evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction. Participants were randomly assigned to receive an infusion of elamipretide or a placebo, then tested for mitochondrial energy production after 2 hours, the study’s primary outcome measure.

The researchers assessed mitochondrial energy with a test called ATPmax that measures levels of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, and oxygen in muscles, determined by a hand muscle fatigue test. Adenosine triphosphate stores and transports chemical energy in cells, and is an indicator of mitochondrial function.

The findings show participants receiving elamipretide increased their mitochondrial energy output by 30 percent, compared to results from before the infusions. Placebo recipients, however, increased their cell energy rates by 10 percent. The results also show elamipretide was well tolerated with no adverse effects associated with the treatments.

Kevin Conley, a physiology professor at University of Washington and one of the trial investigators says in a company statement that the change in energy functions from elamipretide, “is comparable to the improvement seen in my previous studies of endurance training, exercising three times a week for six months ….”

Stealth Bio has other trials underway testing elamipretide for additional skeletal muscle disorders related to mitochondrial dysfunction, as well as heart failure, and acute kidney injury. As reported in Science & Enterprise, the company is developing a form of elamipretide for eye disorders resulting from mitochondrial malfunctions, also being tested in clinical trials.

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1 comment to Drug Shown to Improve Cell Energy, Muscle Function

  • […] Drug Shown to Improve Cell Energy, Muscle Function – Stealth BioTherapeutics develops therapies for disorders related to malfunctioning mitochondria … and oxygen in muscles, determined by a hand muscle fatigue test. Adenosine triphosphate stores and transports chemical energy in cells, and is … […]