STATES CHRONICLE – A team of researchers performed several clinical trials on a vaccine which can lower cholesterol levels. If the vaccine proves effective in humans, it might work as an effective way to keep heart disease away which does not require people to take pills every day.
A vaccine which attacks bad cholesterol
The trial was performed on mice, and the results have been summed up in a paper published in the European Heart Journal. The study has been developed by the creators of the vaccine, AFFiRis, an Austrian pharmaceutical company. AT04A, as the shot is called, targets a certain enzyme related to high cholesterol levels.
This enzyme prevents receptors from getting rid of the bad cholesterol. Therefore, this might lead to its accumulation in blood vessels (atherosclerosis), thus increasing the risk of developing heart disease. There is a treatment for this condition, namely statins, but it implies taking a pill every day, which is a bit unpractical.
The shot had long-lasting effects in the test mice
To test the vaccine, researchers put the test mice on a special diet rich in heavy fats and determine them to develop atherosclerosis. Then, they injected them with the vaccine, and found they had 53 percent less cholesterol than the control mice. Also, they exhibited 64 percent less damage from atherosclerosis.
A previous test which used the antibodies from the vaccine showed that they were effective, but their effect went away quite rapidly. This was also unpractical, since the costs for new treatment supplies were too high. However, the new data shows that antibodies remain in mice for a longer period, suggesting that the vaccine is effective.
Researchers now hope they can apply the same treatment to humans. If antibodies successfully persist in our organism as well, we can say we have the first long-term method to keep heart disease away and to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol.
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