Atherosclerosis Vaccine Set to Move to Clinical Trials10 years, 6 months ago
Posted on May 19, 2010, 6 a.m.
Animal trials of a vaccine against atherosclerosis produce promising results, thus raising hopes of a revolutionary means of preventing cardiovascular disease.
Researchers at Stockholm's Karolinska Insitutet (Sweden) have developed a vaccine against atherosclerosis that has proven extremely promising in animal studies. It was thought that the inflammation in the blood vessels that leads to atherosclerosis is caused by T cells reacting to oxidized particles of LDL cholesterol. However, Professor Göran K Hansson and colleagues discovered that the inflammation is actually caused by the T cells attacking normal LDL cholesterol particles. This led the researchers to develop a vaccine against the T cell receptors, which, they theorized, would inhibit the immune reaction. Indeed, tests of the vaccine on animals showed that it reduced atherosclerosis by 65%. The next step is to see if it can be developed into a treatment for patients with a high risk of myocardial infarction and stroke. Professor Hansson also believes that the findings explain why antioxidants have proven unsuccessful against cardiovascular disease in numerous clinical studies: "If one takes antioxidants, one simply prevents the oxidation of LDL. It retains its ability to activate the T cells, and so the inflammation in the blood vessels can increase. This could give the opposite results to what one was hoping for."
Andreas Hermansson, Daniel FJ Ketelhuth,Daniela Strodthoff, Marion Wurm, Emil M Hansson, Antonino Nicoletti, Gabrielle Paulsson-Berne, Göran K Hansson. Inhibition of T cell response to native low-density lipoprotein reduces atherosclerosis J Exp Med. 2010 May 3. [EPub ahead of print]