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Research results show new way for cholesterol treatment
Date:2/5/2014

Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally due to e.g. arteriosclerosis. The cause is increased cholesterol. There is therefore a considerable need for an effective method of treatment against increased cholesterol. Now, Danish researchers have made a discovery that may change the picture of how it must be treated.

The researchers have identified a new so-called receptor system, located in all the cells in the body. The receptor, which is called sortilin, has a decisive influence on the protein PCSK9, which is of great importance for the body's ability to deal with the harmful LDL cholesterol.

New strategy for cholesterol treatment

Ten years ago it was discovered that the level of LDL cholesterol fell if you inhibited PCSK9. PCSK9-inhibiting drugs have since become the new hope within cholesterol treatment and the first products will probably be approved this year. The discovery is one of the biggest biomedical success stories in recent times, as it is normally takes 20 years before basic research can be converted into a product. The high pace and great focus on the effect has, however, meant that only a few people have conducted research into how the body itself regulates PCSK9.

"We have attempted to identify PCSK9's biology and have found out how this protein moves in the cell. We now know of an important mechanism for how PCSK9 is released into the blood, where it has its harmful effect on the amount of LDL cholesterol," says Simon Glerup, Associate Professor from Aarhus University, and one of the researchers behind the study.

The research did not just provide answers, but also new opportunities.

"We discovered that there was yet another important element in play here, namely sortilin, and that it increases the activity of PCSK9. If we inhibit sortilin what we have seen is that this has the same effect as if we inhibit PCSK9 itself. In other words - much less
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Contact: Simon Glerup
sg@biokemi.au.dk
45-51-22-17-27
Aarhus University
Source:Eurekalert

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