Promising new therapy strongly reduces big heart disease risk factor

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Exciting findings from a Phase I trial conducted by a Cleveland Clinic physician reveal the effectiveness of an experimental therapy in dramatically reducing levels of lipoprotein(a), a major contributor to heart disease risk.

The results of this study were presented during a late-breaking session at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2023 and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Background: The Trouble with Lipoprotein(a)

Lipoprotein(a), often referred to as Lp(a), is a substance produced in the liver that bears similarities to LDL (low-density lipoprotein), commonly known as “bad cholesterol.”

What makes Lp(a) particularly problematic is that its levels are largely determined by genetics, with little influence from lifestyle changes like diet and exercise.

The structure of Lp(a) contributes to the buildup of arterial plaque, significantly increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Current Lack of Treatment

While effective therapies exist for lowering LDL cholesterol and managing other lipid levels associated with heart disease, there are currently no approved medications for reducing Lp(a) levels.

This poses a challenge, as lifestyle changes alone cannot impact these genetically determined levels.

In this trial, participants received injections of lepodisiran, an experimental therapy. Lepodisiran is a small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutic designed to block the messenger RNA responsible for producing a crucial component of Lp(a) in the liver.

The study’s findings were impressive, with participants who received lepodisiran experiencing significant reductions in Lp(a) levels.

The highest dosage led to a reduction of up to 96% within just two weeks, maintaining levels more than 94% below baseline for an astonishing 48 weeks. Moreover, lepodisiran was well-tolerated, with minimal side effects, primarily mild injection site reactions.

A Promising Breakthrough for Millions

This breakthrough positions lepodisiran as a potential treatment for atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases in individuals with elevated Lp(a) levels.

It’s estimated that approximately 64 million people in the United States and 1.4 billion people worldwide have elevated Lp(a) levels, making this therapy a beacon of hope for many.

Currently, a Phase II trial is underway to further investigate the effectiveness of lepodisiran. The development of this promising therapy is led by Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly).

Conclusion: A Ray of Hope for Elevated Lp(a) Levels

The Phase I trial results offer hope to individuals who have struggled with high Lp(a) levels as a significant risk factor for heart disease.

With effective treatment options remaining elusive until now, lepodisiran’s potential to substantially reduce Lp(a) levels represents a significant advancement in the fight against heart disease.

Further research and development may soon bring this therapy to those who need it most.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about Blood thinners may not prevent stroke in people with heartbeat problems and findings of This diabetes drug may protect heart health in older veterans.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about How whole grains can benefit your heart health and results showing that Why coffee may affect your heartbeat.

The research findings can be found in JAMA.

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