Cholesterol vaccine may be cheaper, more effective than statins

A new vaccine could be more effective at reducing high cholesterol than statins alone — and cost dramatically less than other cholesterol treatments.

The vaccine works by targeting a protein that controls the level of cholesterol in the blood. Study results show one vaccine “dramatically” reduced the cholesterol levels in mice and macaques (a type of monkey), which researchers suggest is a positive sign for the vaccine's potential in humans. Researchers also found the vaccine to be more effective when used along with statins, which shows promise for patients who suffer side effects to the drugs.

"Statins are still the most commonly prescribed medication for cholesterol. Although they are effective in many people, [they] do have side effects and don't work for everyone," said Bryce Chackerian, Ph.D., one of the study's authors at the University of New Mexico. "The results of our vaccine were very striking, and suggest it could be a powerful new treatment for high cholesterol."

New drugs that target the cholesterol protein are currently being developed by several pharmaceutical companies, but their prices are “prohibitively expensive,” researchers noted. The new vaccine would cost much less than the alternative treatments, and could possibly be more effective, the study found.

Results of the research were published in Vaccine

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