US research, using mice and monkeys, could lead to a new vaccine to lower 'bad' cholesterol.
High cholesterol affects 40% of adults worldwide, leading to blocked arteries and other heart-related issues.
Prior research had already underlined that the accumulation of a protein (PCSK9) led to high lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, commonly known as ‘bad cholesterol’.
The study by the University of New Mexico (UNM) and the University of California, Davis, blocked PCSK9 with a non-infectious virus particle vaccine in mice and monkeys. This successfully reduced LDL levels by up to 30% in the animals - a significant advance in cholesterol management.
Further human trials are needed to confirm the vaccines effectiveness and safety, but the study – published in NPJ Vaccines - could lead to cheaper cholesterol treatments, a significant advance in global cardiovascular health research.
Bryce Chackerian, lead researcher at UNM, said treating high cholesterol this way ‘would be less expensive and more broadly applicable, not just in the US, but also in places that don't have the resources to afford these very, very expensive therapies’