MONDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers report that injections of a novel "monoclonal antibody" lowered LDL cholesterol levels in patients with high cholesterol by as much as 72 percent.
This new treatment could help lower levels of "bad" cholesterol for the one in five people who don't respond to the commonly prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. It may also be helpful in patients who can't get their cholesterol low enough with statins alone, the researchers added.
"If this pans out, it will be a whole new approach to lowering cholesterol," James McKenney, chief executive officer of National Clinical Research Inc., said during a Monday press briefing at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting in Chicago, where the research was to be presented. A report on the findings was published simultaneously in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The experimental compound appeared to lower LDL cholesterol by making it easier for the liver to remove LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream, McKenney said. Monoclonal antibodies are antibodies cloned from a single cell, which are all identical because they are cloned, the researchers explained.
The study was funded by the drug's manufacturers: Sanofi U.S. and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. The research company that McKenney works for has also received funding from both drug makers.
For this phase 2 study, McKenney's team randomly assigned 183 patients with high cholesterol who had been treated with Lipitor (atorvastatin) for more than six weeks, to one of six groups.
Three groups were given injections of the new drug in high, medium or low doses every two weeks. Two other groups were given very high doses of the drug every four weeks. The sixth group received a placebo.
After 12 weeks, the researchers found those who received the low dose of the monoclonal antibo
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