London: The University of Oxford today announced a major international study in 2011 involving 30,000 people in various countries to test whether a new type of cholesterol treatment can prevent coronary deaths and heart attacks.
The REVEAL (Randomized EValuation of the Effects of Anacetrapib through Lipid-modification) trial will investigate whether a drug called anacetrapib can drive down the risks of coronary deaths, heart attacks and other vascular complications.
The study will involve 30,000 people who have some form of heart or other vascular disease from the UK, North America, China, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia and elsewhere, a university release said.
The study is being coordinated by the Clinical Trial Service Unit (CTSU) at Oxford University. Anacetrapib is a new type of cholesterol treatment, belonging to a drug class known as CETP (Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein) inhibitors.
It has been found to produce substantial reductions in blood levels of `bad` LDL cholesterol (equivalent to, and additional to, those achieved with statin drugs), and it more than doubles `good` HDL cholesterol levels.
Anacetrapib has been studied in about 2,000 people, of whom about 500 have taken it for 18 months.
In that research, which is also being reported today, anacetrapib was not associated with adverse effects on any of the key safety endpoints, including blood pressure or other vascular risk factors.
Large randomised studies have shown that lowering LDL cholesterol by 40 mg/dL (1 mmol/L) for 4-5 years with statin therapy cuts the risks of heart attacks and strokes by about a quarter, and recent studies suggest that more intensive LDL-lowering can produce extra benefits.
But, despite the use of statins, the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other vascular complications among people who have vascular disease remains high. Previous studies have also shown that people with high blood levels of HDL cholesterol tend to have fewer heart attacks or coronary deaths.
However, there is limited evidence of any benefits with the drugs that are currently available to raise HDL cholesterol, and widespread use of the most effective of these HDL-raising drugs ? which is called niacin ? is limited by side-effects and poor tolerability.