Interview with Dr. Peter Kowey at Boston Atrial Fibrillation Symposium about new atrial fibrillation treatments
June 7, 2010 12:05 AM CT
In this video interview at Boston Atrial Fibrillation Symposium 2010, Dr. Peter Kowey talked about a number of exciting new things in the atrial fibrillation world, including the Cabana clinical trials, the Safari catheter ablation registry, dronedarone as a replacement for amiodarone, atrial selective drugs, and coming replacements for Coumadin (warfarin).
Dr. Kowey is President of the Main Line Health Heart Center, of the Main Line Health System, where he is also Chief of Cardiovascular Diseases. He is also a professor of medicine and clinical pharmacology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.
Mellanie True Hills: This is Mellanie True Hills with StopAfib.org. I’m at Boston Atrial Fibrillation Symposium 2010, and with me today is Dr. Peter Kowey. Dr. Kowey is President of the Main Line Health Heart Center of the Main Line Health System. He is Chief of Cardiovascular Diseases there, and he is also a professor of medicine and clinical pharmacology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Kowey, thank you so much for joining us this morning.
Dr. Peter Kowey: It’s nice to be here, Mellanie.
MTH: Thank you. You have so many areas that you’re really focused on, and you’re talking about several of those areas here at Boston Afib. Let’s start by talking about what’s happening in the AF ablation space.
Dr. Kowey: Well I’m sure you know that we’re launching a very large clinical trial called Cabana that Doug Packer is running as principal investigator. We’re throwing in on that one and helping Doug get the study off the ground. But in tandem with that is a very important initiative called Safari, which is a registry of atrial fibrillation ablation. The goal is to enroll every patient in the United States that has an atrial fibrillation ablation procedure into a long-term follow-up registry that will allow us to inform our patients better about the efficacy and safety of catheter ablation procedures, specifically for atrial fibrillation. It’s a point of information that we think our patients deserve.
MTH: Excellent. Thank you. Now let’s talk about the drug area, the pharmacological area, and what exciting things are happening in that space.
Dr. Kowey: Well, there are two principal areas in research for pharmacologic agents in atrial fibrillation. One is trying to come up with new drugs to directly suppress atrial fibrillation. Dronedarone, which was recently approved, is a congener, a type of amiodarone. Amiodarone is a very effective drug for atrial fibrillation, but unfortunately, as most patients know, has a fair amount of toxicity associated with it. The intent here is to try to use the advantage of the molecule and engineer out a lot of the adverse effects, so there are compounds coming behind dronedarone that we hope will fulfill that. And in addition to that we’re also looking for drugs that have a selective effect on the atrium [atrial selective drugs], the top chamber of the heart, sparing the rest of the heart, in order to make them safer for patients, even those who may have some element of heart disease. So these concepts are being very actively explored and hopefully we’ll have some new agents to talk about very soon.
MTH: Excellent. And there’s a lot going on in the anticoagulation space as replacements for Coumadin. Can you share with us some of what’s happening in that space as well?
Dr. Kowey: This is a particularly important area for patients, because we know that atrial fibrillation is associated with the risk of having stroke, and the strokes in atrial fibrillation are very serious. For a long time, we’ve been looking for alternatives to the drug that we’ve been using for several years called warfarin. Warfarin is a great drug, it works great in patients, but it unfortunately has a number of drug interactions and food interactions and requires some fairly intensive monitoring. What we’re finally beginning to see is the light at the end of the tunnel, the development of some compounds that will take some of that burden away from the patient, and at the same time protect him. In fact, the first round of trials that we’ve seen with these new drugs suggests that they may not only be as effective, but may be even more effective, and even safer than Warfarin for this indication. We’re very excited about the opportunity to bring these drugs to our patients.
MTH: Excellent. A lot of exciting things going on here at Boston Afib, a lot being talked about. Thank you Dr. Kowey, so much, for sharing with us some of those exciting things.
Dr. Kowey: Well thanks for having me.
MTH: Thank you. From Boston Afib, this is Mellanie True Hills, for StopAfib.org.