Say goodbye to statins: New vaccine gives hope to high cholesterol sufferers

Do you suffer from high cholesterol like 1 in 3 Australians? This breakthrough could mean lower cholesterol…forever.

Researchers have revealed the development of a vaccine they say could offer a cheaper and more effective alternative to current cholesterol-lowering treatments in the journal Vaccine.

Study coauthor Dr Bryce Chackerian, from the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at the University of New Mexico and his colleagues said the vaccine significantly reduced low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in both mice and rhesus macaque monkey studies.

You may have heard your doctor tell you about LDL, which is referred to as “bad” cholesterol. The higher your levels of LDL cholesterol, the more plaque in your arteries – increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart disease.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in America, people with high LDL cholesterol are twice as likely to develop heart disease than those with normal levels.

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Doctors usually say that the key to lowering LDL levels lie with adopting a healthy diet and increasing physical activity, many people take statins which work by blocking an enzyme needed by the liver to produce cholesterol.  But statins introduce a whole batch of side-effects most people are unhappy to traverse, so a magic needle is just what the doctor ordered.  The severe and uncomfortable side effects of Statins  include muscle pain, liver damage, digestive issues and a raised risk of diabetes too.

“One of the most exciting things about this new vaccine is it seems to be much more effective than statins alone,” notes Dr. Chackerian.

It is clear from recent media reports that this vaccine ‘could have a major impact on health worldwide’

“On testing a single dose of the vaccine in 4-6-week-old mice, the team found it significantly reduced LDL cholesterol levels. When combined with statins, the team found the vaccine produced an even greater reduction in LDL cholesterol among 9-17-year-old rhesus macaques,” as reported in Medical News Today

“The data reported here, in both mice and macaques, provides proof-of-principle evidence that a vaccine targeting PCSK9 can effectively lower lipid levels and work synergistically with statins.

Thus, the use of VLP-based vaccines targeting PCSK9 peptide could serve as a cost-effective alternative to other therapies and could lead to a widely applicable vaccine-based approach for controlling hypercholesteremia [high cholesterol] and cardiovascular disease. If successful, this approach could obviously have a major impact on human health worldwide.”

Do you have high LDL levels?  Will this research be something you are grateful to see progress quickly?