A new vaccination that prevents heart attacks and could provide an effective alternative to statins is being developed by Austrian scientists.
Promising early research has shown the injection can direct the immune system to lower cholesterol – and if given yearly to at-risk patients, may help keep arteries clear and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Patients have been enrolled into an early-stage clinical trial to see if the approach, so far tested on mice, will work in humans.
The vaccine, known as AT04A, triggers the production of antibodies that target an enzyme involved in regulating levels of blood cholesterol.
This enzyme has been shown to impede the clearance of low-density lipoprotein – the “bad” form of cholesterol that is largely to blame for blocked arteries – from the blood.
Mice fed an unhealthy Western-style fatty diet had their total blood cholesterol lowered by 53 per cent by the vaccine, according to a new study published in the European Heart Journal.
Atherosclerotic damage, the build-up of hard fibrous deposits on the walls of arteries, was reduced by 64 per cent and biological markers of blood vessel inflammation by up to 28 per cent compared with unvaccinated mice.
SOURCE: Katie Forster