Previous research by Dr. Foster has illustrated that angiotensin receptor blockade can abolish the blood pressure response to intermittent hypoxia (IH), reduce oxidative stress and increase nitric oxide bioavailability. In addition, recent work suggests heightened peripheral neurovascular transduction in response to baroreflex activation.
Building on this work, over the next 5 years Dr. Foster will focus on the cardiovascular consequences of IH associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Since OSA and IH directly contribute to the morbidity and mortality of hypertension, myocardial infarction and stroke, there is an urgent need to establish a treatment capable of protecting OSA patients from IH-induced cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Dr. Foster's research will elucidate the mechanisms by which AT1R antagonists or statins could protect OSA patients from IH-induced CVD. By breaking the link between CVD and OSA, and capitalizing on the pleiotropic properties of angiotensin receptor blockers and statins, this research is ultimately intended to generate a novel treatment. This knowledge will provide the necessary proof of concept for large-scale clinical trials, and will help reduce stress on health care infrastructure and improve the health, quality of life and longevity of Canadians.