London: An antibody called "alirocumab" can significantly lower cholesterol levels in patients with an inherited disease associated with very high levels of low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) or what is called "bad" cholesterol, new research has found.
The analysis involving more than 1,250 patients with the inherited disease heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia showed that alirocumab rapidly lowered LDL-C to unprecedented levels and the reductions were maintained long term.
"Heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia is an inherited disease associated with very high levels of LDL-C that can put patients at risk for cardiovascular disease," said principal investigator John JP Kastelein, professor at University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
"Alirocumab belongs to a new class of cholesterol-lowering monoclonal antibodies that works by preventing action of the PCSK9 protein, which in turn increases the number of LDL receptors and thus increases uptake of LDL-C from the circulation," Kastelein noted.
Researchers assessed the benefits of adding the PCSK9 monoclonal antibody alirocumab to statins and other standard of care therapy, compared to standard of care therapy (including statins) and placebo.
"The results show that adding alirocumab to statins in patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia rapidly lowers LDL-C to unprecedented levels that are unreachable with statins alone, and that these reductions are maintained in the long term," Kastelein pointed out.
The findings were presented at the recently concluded European Society of Cardiology Congress 2015 in London.