Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rresearchers demonstrate ability of new therapy to treat severely elevated cholesterol levels

15.01.2007
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have demonstrated the potential of a new type of therapy for patients who suffer from high cholesterol levels.

The findings are in the January 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). In this study, patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a high-risk condition refractory to conventional therapy, had a remarkable 51% reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad cholesterol" levels.

"Our study shows that targeted inhibition of the microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) is highly effective in reducing cholesterol levels in these very high risk patients," stated Daniel J. Rader, MD, Director of Preventive Cardiology and the Clinical and Translational Research Center at Penn, and principal investigator of this study. "Furthermore, there are many other patients who have cholesterol levels that are difficult to treat or who are not tolerant to treatment with statins. New therapies are required for these patients as well, and it is possible that after further research MTP inhibition could eventually be used for such patients."

Genetic defects in MTP lead to profoundly low levels of LDL. Using this information, Bristol-Myers Squibb began to search for inhibitors of this protein and discovered the study drug, originally known as BMS-201038. Bristol-Myers Squibb then donated it to Penn for use in clinical trials in patients with severe cholesterol problems. Rader and his team at Penn designed and carried out the current study in homozygous FH patients with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Due to the success in this study, Penn has licensed the drug to Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc for further development as AEGR-733.

Patients who suffer from homozygous FH typically respond poorly to standard drug therapy and have a very high risk of premature cardiovascular disease. Homozygous FH is caused by loss-of-function mutations in both alleles of the LDL receptor gene. It is a rare form of hypercholesterolemia affecting approximately one in every million people. Patients with this disorder typically have plasma cholesterol levels of more than 500 mg per deciliter. If untreated, patients develop cardiovascular disease before they are 20-years-old and generally do not live past the age of 30. Because existing cholesterol lowering drugs are relatively ineffective in this patient population, new therapies to reduce LDL levels are needed.

In this study, researchers conducted a dose-escalation study to examine the safety, tolerability and effects on lipid levels of an inhibitor of MTP in six patients with homozygous FH. Patients received the MTP inhibitor at four different doses, each for four weeks, and returned for a final visit after an additional four-week drug washout period. Analysis of lipid levels, safety laboratory analyses, and magnetic resonance imaging of the liver for hepatic fat content were performed throughout the study. All patients tolerated titration to the highest dose studied. In addition to the 51% reduction in LDL cholesterol, treatment at this dose also decreased total cholesterol levels by 58%, triglyceride levels by 65% and apolipoprotein B levels by 56% from baseline. In contrast to statin drugs, which have relatively little effect on cholesterol levels in homozygous FH patients, the MTP inhibitor was shown to reduce the liver's ability to produce LDL. The most notable adverse events in the study were loose stools and elevation of liver transaminase levels and accumulation of hepatic fat in some but not all of the patients studied.

Rader concluded, "Although our study establishes proof of concept, a longer-term study in more patients will be required to determine the benefits and risks of this approach as a potential new therapy for homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia." Marina Cuchel, MD, PhD, a co-investigator in this study at Penn, is now the principal investigator of a Phase III study for this compound in homozygous FH patients that is funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Orphan Drug program and planned for later this year.

Rader points out that this study is a superb example of "translational research" in which discoveries in basic science are "translated" into use in humans for the development of novel therapies. Rader is an internationally recognized leader in translational research in the areas of cholesterol metabolism and heart disease prevention. Penn recently created a new Cardiovascular Institute that is charged with promoting translational research in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, Penn was recently awarded a large NIH grant to foster the further development of translational research under the auspices of the newly created Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics.

The results of this study are in The New England Journal of Medicine (http://content.nejm.org/). The article is titled "Inhibition of Microsomal Triglyceride Transfer Protein in Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia." Co-authors from Penn: Marina Cuchel, MD, PhD; LeAnne T. Bloedon, MS, RD; Philippe O. Szapary, MD; Daniel M. Kolansky, MD; Megan L. Wolfe, BS; John S. Millar, PhD; Evan S. Siegelman, MD; and Daniel J. Rader, MD. Other researchers: Antoine Sarkis, MD, Hotel Dieu de France Hospital, St. Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon; Katsunori Ikewaki, MD, Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan; and Richard E. Gregg, MD, from Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Lawrenceville, NJ.

This study was supported by a Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award (to Rader) from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and grants from the National Center for Research Resources.

Susanne Hartman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://content.nejm.org/
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>