Injecting Your Way to Lower Cholesterol

Cholesterol control with PCSK9 appears promising

(RxWiki News) Lowering your cholesterol could be as easy as a shot. Preliminary clinical tests have shown that injections may work to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol.

Injecting a lab-made human protein, or a monoclonal antibody already used to treat conditions including cancer, may work by targeting a recently identified cholesterol regulator.

"Check your cholesterol annually."

During the study researchers created the monoclonal antibody AMG145 in order to disable the cholesterol regulator PCSK9, which interferes with the liver’s ability to remove bad cholesterol from the blood. Turning it off allows cholesterol levels to improve.

Clapton Dias, lead researcher and medical sciences director of clinical pharmacology and early development at Amgen, Inc., said that PCSK9 appears to be a promising way to lower bad cholesterol. The more PCSK9 is lowered, the more bad cholesterol levels appear to decline.

Investigators enrolled 54 men and two women between the ages of 18 and 45, who were healthy and did not take other drugs. Each received an injection of one of five doses of AMG145 or a placebo. Of those, 16 received the injections intravenously, while the remainder received injections just under the skin. Following the injections, patients were monitored for LDL cholesterol levels for 85 to 113 days.

Increased doses of AMG145 were found to lower levels of bad cholesterol, while showing no effect on levels of good cholesterol or triglycerides. In participants who received the highest dose injection, their bad cholesterol was lowered by 64 percent as compared to patients who received a placebo.

A similar study is being conducted to determine the effect of the drug in patients that currently use statin medications to lower their cholesterol.

The research was recently presented at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

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Review Date: 
November 14, 2011