The word cholesterol has always been able to raise eyebrows of people because the rising levels of cholesterol is a factual indicator of growing heart disease. While there has been a lot of research and development in the field of cardiac study, here is some further news around the same. Well, lowering cholesterol for a healthy heart is a known fact. We all know how high levels of low density lipo-protein (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol can lead to a stroke due to atherosclerosis or the build up of plaque in the arteries thereby clogging them.
Now, we have this vaccine named Ato4A that has the ability to lower cholesterol levels in the body. It is a cholesterol lowering vaccine by nature and its role is to induce the antibodies production against an enzyme by name PCSK9 responsible for preventing the LDL cholesterol clearance from blood. It apparently attacks the PCSK9 enzyme and reduces the buildup of LDL cholesterol.
The vaccine has already been experimented on mice. After feeding the mice with high cholesterol based western food for a while in order to increase atherosclerosis. The findings clearly showed some amazing results.
While the total lowering in cholesterol was a whooping 53%, the reversal of the atherosclerotic damage to blood vessels was a startling 64% and reduction in the biological markers of blood vessel inflammation by 21-28%. The researchers also found that the antibodies were functional throughout the study with increased levels of concentrations towards the end of it.
Now, the PCSK9 protein is responsible for blocking the LDL cholesterol receptors. Due to this our body fails to get rid of this Cholesterol from blood. When the vaccine Ato4a is injected in the body it starts producing antibodies that in turn block the PSCK9’s function. As a result the activity of LDL cholesterol receptors increases.
A notable difference though between the conventional vaccines and Ato4A is that usually the antibodies in conventional vaccines are only specific to foreign bacterial and viral proteins. While Ato4A induces antibodies against body proteins.
Thus, as per researchers the next step was to take the study forward to human beings and see how the results fare. If it works then surely, this discovery of sorts is going to help fight heart diseases and stroke more effectively in the times to come.
Dr. H. P. Prabhuswamy, MBBS, MS, M. CH, FICC, FIACS, Cardiac Surgery, Professor & HOD, Dept. of CTVS, RRMCH and team conducted a Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery.