A heart disease cure might be closer than ever if Ellis Hospital testing is to be believed. That heart disease cure would come from a new cholesterol drug that works at eliminating bad cholesterol in the body while helping to increase good cholesterol. This could be a life-saving drug that could help doctor’s battle heart disease all over the world, but more testing is going to be done by the investigators to figure out if they have indeed stumbled on to something that could alter everything we know about treating heart disease.
According to USA Today, researchers have been working on a drug called Merck’s anacetrapib, one that is designed to help clear dangerous cholesterol from the arteries. The drug works by suppressing a protein that allow bad cholesterol (LDL) to be produced in the body, simultaneously working to boost the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) in the body. The way that HDL works is that it helps to rid the body of LDL, so the hypothetical assertion is that the more LDL your body can produce, the more HDL it gains the ability to remove. The dream scenario would be that the drug achieves both goals at the same time, stopping heart disease in its tracks, and possibly reversing its symptoms.
The early data on this new drug are pretty compelling, but at the same time caution has to be taken to ensure that the results aren’t called “facts” just yet. The numbers are certainly very exciting, with a recent study conducted over 18 months on 1,623 heart disease patients. In those patients, the average levels of LDL were lowered by 40 percent and the average levels of HDL were increased by 138 percent. Those are startling numbers, showing that the drug might be making extreme maneuvers in dealing with heart disease that is already prevalent in patients. The thought that this drug could be used to “heal” patients with heart disease is equally mind-boggling.
Merck, the drug company banking on this innovation, will be launching a 30,000-patient study around the world, and this is clearly an attempt to prove that the drug works really well with only minor side effects. Maybe that study will also provide the evidence necessary to make the drug legal and available to the masses, but the unfortunate realization is that the drug is still a long way from making it to our store shelves. If the Merck anacetrapib can do everything the creators hope it will, this will be a game-changer in the battle against heart disease. From that standpoint, we should all be hoping that their next trial is a success.