Is it possible to immunize the person so that to reduce the level of cholesterol and prevent the narrowing of blood vessels due to fat deposits? This type of therapy has been successfully tested with animals, and now scientists are conducting phase I clinical trials of the efficacy and safety of a new “vaccine” for humans.
Usually vaccines trigger the production of antibodies against viral or bacterial pathogens, and the introduction of a new “vaccine” leads to autoimmune process — the production of antibodies against its own protein the body, explained the study authors. Therefore its correct to call immunotherapeutic agent.
A new study published in the journal “European Heart Journal” showed that it is possible to immunize animals so as to cause the production of antibodies against the enzyme PCSK9. This protein prevents the removal of “bad” cholesterol associated with low density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol) from the blood vessels. Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood may be associated with genetic characteristics, bad habits or malnutrition. In persons with such a violation, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide.
PCSK9 is a protein produced in the liver and binds to receptors to LDL cholesterol, preventing the removal of “bad” cholesterol from the blood. Substance AT04A, if ingested, triggers the production of antibodies to the enzyme PCSK9, blocking its action. Thus enhanced purification of blood vessels from LDL cholesterol, explained the researchers.
The new study was conducted with animals that were fed fatty foods that caused high cholesterol, and atherosclerosis. The introduction of substances AT04A led to lower total cholesterol by 53%, decrease of atherosclerotic deposits by 64% and lower levels of markers of inflammation of the blood vessels to 21-28% (compared to animals not receiving treatment). The number and activity of acquired antibodies survived until the end of the study, said the authors.
If the findings are confirmed for man and acquired antibodies will persist for a long time after the introduction of immunotherapeutic tools, the scientists will have the opportunity to develop a long-term therapy of diseases associated with elevated cholesterol.