CEDARVILLE — Amid lectures and grading papers, one Cedarville University professor has helped engineer and test an antibody that has potential to treat the results of a multitude of vascular conditions, including pain in walking and limb necrosis associated with late-stage diabetes.
Dr. Rocco Rotello, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, has secured a patent for his seven-year antibody research and is steadily approaching a treatment for a multitude of vascular conditions.
The object of Rotello’s patented research is an engineered antibody. Antibodies are proteins that act as keys that fit biological locks on certain cells to initiate a process within the cell. Rotello’s antibody is designed for compatibility with endothelial cells.
Endothelial cells form the interior walls of blood vessels (arteries, veins and capillaries), the passageways for blood to and from the heart. When endothelial cells are healthy, they ensure blood flows correctly by keeping the vessel walls strong and stable. If the cells are unhealthy, the vessel walls may leak, which can lead to a host of issues, including irregular blood pressure, clotting and edema.
Rotello’s patented antibody flips the switch that sends endothelial cells into survival mode, which strengthens the walls of blood vessels. As a result, the antibody, which is injected into a subject, has the potential to treat numerous vascular conditions.
While various treatments currently exist for improving blood flow in the heart, such as stents, Rotello’s antibody will be the first of its kind to promote blood flow to the limbs, hands and feet. The goal is to alleviate debilitating pain, limb death and amputation that would otherwise occur.
Rotello expects that human drug trials will begin in late 2019 and a final treatment may be widely available by 2023.