Drug reduces high risk blockages in arteries

September 29th, 2008 - 4:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 29 (IANS) Researchers used darapladib, a drug, to inhibit a cholesterol-associated protein, reducing the development of plaques that may cause death, heart attacks, and strokes in a pig model of atherosclerosis and diabetes.”We’ve used a model that closely mimics clinical disease,” said co-author Robert L. Wilensky, professor of medicine at the Penn Cardiovascular Institute.

“The study shows that darapladib is useful in reducing atherosclerosis but more importantly those blockages that are thought to cause death and heart attacks,” he added.

Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is the most common cause of heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease, and has long been thought of as a type of chronic inflammation, according to a release of University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

An early first step in the build-up of the plaques associated with atherosclerosis is the accumulation of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), the “bad” cholesterol, on artery walls. When LDLs are oxidised by the body, they attract immune cells and lipids to the site of the build-up.

“The results are exciting,” said Wilensky. “First, darapladib reduced the overall amount and size of plaques that block the coronary arteries of animals in the study. More importantly, it reduced the number and size of the type of advanced plaques that cause heart attacks and strokes.”

The study recently appeared online in Nature Medicine.

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