London: Scientists have come up with a ‘magic bullet’ jab, which lowers bad cholesterol and reduces risk of several heart diseases like heart attacks and strokes.
More than four million people in Britain take wonder drugs like statins daily to control their soaring cholesterol levels but still around one in four do not manage to reduce their cholesterol to a safe level.
This is either because the statins do not work properly, patients cut their dose or stop taking them altogether due to terrible side effects.
Now scientists have developed a potent jab that can drastically reduce blood levels of the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol while significantly increasing levels of the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.
Risk of heart disease is particularly high in those individuals who have high level of LDL cholesterol and a low level of HDL.
According to the first preliminary human tests, the medicine in this new jab lowers the LDL in healthy volunteers on the highest dose by an average 64 per cent more than those on an inactive placebo injection.
The injected treatment, called AMG145, is a ‘monoclonal’ antibody, a laboratory-made human protein that targets a recently identified cholesterol regulator.
The study took into consideration 54 men and two women, aged between 18 and 45, who were healthy and not on other medications.
In the study, scientists created AMG145 to ‘turn off’ a cholesterol regulator, which interferes with the liver’s ability to remove bad cholesterol from the blood.
Participants received a single injection that contained one of five levels of doses of AMG145 or a placebo.
Sixteen received the injections intravenously. The others had simple injections that delivered the drug just beneath the skin.
After the injections, bad cholesterol was measured frequently for 85 to 113 days, along with other laboratory measures related to heart disease.
With increasing doses of AMG145, blood tests revealed lower levels of bad cholesterol, total cholesterol and apolipoprotein-B, which ‘delivers’ bad cholesterol to the tissue, causing fatty deposits to clog the arteries.
“It appears to be a promising way to lower bad cholesterol,” the Daily Express quoted Dr Clapton Dias, lead researcher as saying.
“With higher doses, bad cholesterol stayed lower for a longer period.”
The study also revealed that the injections were well tolerated and volunteers receiving AMG145 experienced no more side effects than those on the placebo.