Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


First atherosclerosis vaccine: time for the count-down

Preliminary human safety trials involving human patients could start next year, EVGN scientist says.

The first vaccine against atherosclerosis is not far away in the future, according to Jan Nilsson, professor of Experimental Cardiology at Lunds Universitet in Malmö (Sweden) and EVGN member. Human clinical trials are likely to begin at the end of next year: they will be aimed at verifying the safety of a preparation, still under investigation in a laboratory model, made of antibodies obtained against selected fragments of oxidized Low Density Lipoproteins, or oxLDLs. LDLs are the major component of the “bad cholesterol”: their accumulation in the arterial wall causes inflammation and is a key factor in the onset of atherosclerosis.

The ability of oxidized LDL to trigger an immune response in the body was recognized a decade ago. Studies revealed that these particles can induce an autoimmune response: a response of the body against itself. But they also revealed that the immunization with oxLDL particles reduces the development of atherosclerosis hampering the deposition of atherosclerotic plaques. “Early as they were, these data prompted the scientists to consider vaccination as a feasible option not only for infectious diseases but also for atherosclerosis. And recent evidence confirming the involvement of the immune system in cardiovascular disease has strengthened the idea” says Nilsson, who has a long standing experience in studying atherosclerosis and the immune system.

Setting up a vaccine is not easy: the mechanism of action of the compounds is often unknown, and the reactions in a human being could be different from those observed in a laboratory model. Besides, not all the parts (or epitopes) of an immunogenic molecule trigger the same immune response. “We knew that oxidation alters the external structure of LDLs, but didn’t know which epitope was the most effective. So we tested several fragments (peptides) derived from the protein that stick on the surface of LDLs (apoB100), alone and in combination, to determine their efficacy on atherosclerosis”. What the scientists found was that a single fragment, and not the mix, exerted the strongest effect on the inflammation that surrounds the atherosclerotic plaques. “The injection of this fragment (a procedure called active immunization) triggered the production of antibodies, which determined the reduction of the atherosclerotic lesions up to 70% and the stabilization/regression of the plaques”.

... more about:
»LDL »Nilsson »Vaccine »atherosclerosis »oxLDL

These results induced the scientists to speculate that the direct administration (passive immunization) of an antibody against ApoB100 could be effective as well. So Nilsson and his team developed human antibodies with high affinity for apoB100 fragments, and proved that they can significantly reduce the atherosclerosis in a mouse model.

But what could happen in a human being? The mechanism of action of these antibodies is still unclear, and uncertainties remain on the activation of unwanted inflammatory responses. “We are aware that some points still need to be clarified. However, we expect to obtain the answers within a year, before moving into man” admits Nilsson.

Today, the most common treatment for atherosclerosis are statins. Unfortunately, these drugs do not directly affect oxLDLs, and a high percentage of patients who are treated with statins may still undergo a heart attack or stroke. The research strategy pursued by Nilsson and colleagues could therefore benefit high-risk individuals for whom the conventional treatments do not provide adequate protection.

The European Vascular Genomics Network (EVGN) is the first Network of excellence on cardiovascular disease funded by the European Commission under the 6th Framework Programme "Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health" (Contract Number: LSHM-CT-2003-503254).

The Conference is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Laboratoires SERVIER.

Francesca Noceti | alfa
Further information:

Further reports about: LDL Nilsson Vaccine atherosclerosis oxLDL

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>