Human trials of cholesterol-lowering vaccine underway

Experts hope the vaccine could be available on the NHS in as little as six years

Experts hope the vaccine could be available on the NHS in as little as six years

Patients have already been enrolled into a phase 1 trial to see if the approach, so far tested on mice, will work in humans. AT04A contains a molecule that causes the body to produce antibodies against an enzyme called PCSK9, which prevents the clearance of so-called "bad" cholesterol from the blood, according to a study published in the European Heart Journal.

When injected into mice, the vaccine treatment cut their total blood cholesterol by 53% over 12 months and also protected against the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries.

This, in turn, resulted in "a reduction of fatty deposits in the arteries and atherosclerotic damage, as well as reduced arterial wall inflammation".

A new vaccine for cholesterol could eventually improve the lives of 250,000 Irish people, it is being claimed today.

The vaccine, dubbed AT04A, reduced cholesterol levels in trial mice by half, and reversed damage done to blood vessels due to plaque buildup by more than 60 percent, researchers said in a statement. As a effect, levels of cholesterol were reduced in a consistent and long-lasting way, resulting in a reduction of fatty deposits in the arteries and atherosclerotic damage, as well as reduced arterial wall inflammation.

"If these findings translate successfully into humans, this could mean that. we could develop a long-lasting therapy that, after the first vaccination, just needs an annual booster", said Staffler.

Essentially it is an immunotherapy treatment.

A Phase I trial testing the safety and activity of the vaccine in 72 healthy patients was launched at the Medical University of Vienna in 2015.

However, many patients report side-effects when taking a daily pill and some Global Positioning System are sceptical about the concept of giving so many people drugs from which...