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Could Cholesterol Treatment Fight Repeat Heart Attack?
Date:11/5/2012

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A biopharmaceutical company is developing a treatment that aims to prevent repeat heart attacks by using a component of "good" cholesterol to clear arteries of dangerous cholesterol buildup.

"We hope what we have is a new mechanism to go after cholesterol in the days or weeks after a heart attack," said Sam Wright, global strategic director of cardiovascular therapeutics at CSL Limited, which is headquartered in Australia.

The research is in the early stages, and it's far from clear if the potential treatment will work. Still, the preliminary findings are positive, said Wright. And they were to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Los Angeles.

According to Wright, up to 20 percent of people who survive a heart attack have another one over the next year. The risk is highest in the first several weeks.

While heart surgeons can often prop open clogged arteries after a heart attack, other arteries can remain blocked, he said. "We'd like to remove the cholesterol from all the arteries and prevent blockades," he said.

In the new study -- which represents the first of three stages of research that drugs must undergo before winning approval in the United States -- researchers gave intravenous doses of a protein from so-called "good" (HDL) cholesterol to 57 healthy volunteers.

The study found that the body quickly began to do a better job of removing "bad" (LDL) cholesterol from cells. While scientists often say that every drug has side effects, the researchers saw no signs of adverse effects related to the treatment.

The treatment appeared to work by boosting the body's ability to dispose of "bad" cholesterol, Wright said. While aspirin and anti-platelet drugs prevent clotting after a heart attack, they don't attack the cholesterol that has built up in artery plaque, the st
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