London: To limit the devastating consequences of heart attacks and strokes, scientists and researchers have developed a new injection, which they say could soon revolutionise treatments for cardiovascular diseases.

An international team led by researchers at University of Leicester said their 'achievement' also has potential usage in transplant surgery.

According to the researchers, who detailed their study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), they first identified an enzyme called MASP-2, which is a key
component of the lectin pathway of complement activation – a component of the innate immune system.

The lectin pathway is responsible for the potentially devastating inflammatory tissue response that can occur when any bodily tissue or organ is reconnected to blood supply following ischaemia -- a temporary loss of blood supply and the oxygen that it carries.

This excessive inflammatory response is partly responsible for the morbidity and mortality associated with myocardial infarction (heart attack) and cerebrovascular accidents (CVAs or strokes).

Then, the team succeeded in neutralising the enzyme by raising a therapeutic antibody against it. A single antibody injection in animals has been shown to be sufficient to disrupt the molecular process that leads to tissue and organ destruction following ischaemic events, resulting in significantly less damage and markedly improved outcomes.

"This is a fascinating new achievement in the search for novel treatments to significantly reduce the tissue damage and impaired organ function that occur following ischaemia in widespread and serious conditions such as heart attacks and strokes," said lead researcher Professor Wilhelm Schwaeble.