For those in the two groups taking very high doses every four weeks, the drops in LDL cholesterol were 43 percent and 48 percent, the researchers said.
McKenney noted there is a long way to go and much more research is needed before this drug is ready for public use. Since it would need to be taken regularly, he see it as akin to insulin where the patient can inject the drug in measured doses.
In terms of cost, it's far too early to say what a patient would have to spend for this therapy, the researchers said.
Longer trials are planned. The study authors said they feel confident that the drug is safe and effective, but they need to confirm the results over the long-term.
Dr. Gregg Fonarow, director of the Ahmanson UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center and co-director of the UCLA Preventative Cardiology Program, said that "statin therapy has been remarkably effective in reducing fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events."
Yet, many patients cannot achieve optimal reduction in LDL cholesterol levels with statins and some patients do not tolerate statins well, he noted.
"This novel, new therapy is exceptionally promising," Fonarow said. "Achieving LDL cholesterol reductions of up to 72 percent on top of statin therapy is very impressive."
"If further studies demonstrate the long-term safety, efficacy and effectiveness of this therapy, this will represent a tremendous advance in preventing and treating cardiovascular disease, which has remained the leading cause of premature death and disability in men and women," Fonarow added.
Results of another study also due to be presented Monday suggest that starting statin therapy early in life might significantly reduce the risk for heart disease.
Rather than actually treating patients with st
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