Sunday, February 17, 2013

Research firm finds promise in experimental cholesterol drug (USA)

Research firm finds promise in experimental cholesterol drug (USA) An experimental medicine shows great promise in treating a condition that causes sky-high cholesterol levels among some French Canadians, according to a Maine cardiologist involved in the hot new area of pharmaceutical research. The genetic disorder, called familial hypercholesterolemia or FH, can cause exceedingly high levels of artery-clogging cholesterol, even in children. The condition is more common in people of Native American or French Canadian descent, and has cropped up in the Lewiston-Auburn area, which is home to many Franco Americans. Over the last year, roughly 1,000 people participating in clinical trials for the medicine have seen their LDL cholesterol, or "bad cholesterol," drop significantly with no side effects, said Dr. Robert Weiss, a cardiologist at Auburn-based Maine Research Associates, which is conducting clinical studies on the medicine and has overseen a genetic study on FH. The research participants took the medication, part of a group of medicines known as "PCSK9 inhibitors," along with cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. The medication could eventually help not only individuals diagnosed with inherited FH, but millions of other people who can't lower their cholesterol sufficiently with statins alone, Weiss said

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