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Novel synthetic HDL-C injection shows no benefit on arterial plaques

Injection of a novel form of synthetic high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), or good cholesterol, into the arteries of patients who had recently had a heart attack did not reduce the volume of fatty deposits, or plaque, in the arteries, compared with placebo injections, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 66th Annual Scientific Session.

The Phase 2 CARAT trial failed to meet its primary endpoint of change in the volume of fatty deposits in a coronary artery that had previously been shown to be at least 30 percent blocked, said Stephen Nicholls, MBBS, PhD, director of the Vascular Research Centre at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute in Adelaide, and the study’s lead author.

“In general, CER-001 was well-tolerated, but it had no discernible effect on arterial plaque compared with placebo injections,” Nicholls said. “This suggests that low-dose CER-001 does not appear to be a promising agent for use in patients with acute coronary syndrome.”

Acute coronary syndrome, or ACS, occurs when blood flow to the heart is suddenly blocked. It may take the form of a heart attack or unstable angina, chest pain that may signal an imminent heart attack. Studies suggest that about 12 percent of patients with ACS will experience another blockage of blood flow to the heart within a year of the first event, despite taking medication to reduce their risk.

Standard treatments to reduce the risk of both heart attack and stroke have focused on reducing blood levels of LDL cholesterol (LDL-C), known as “bad” cholesterol because it contributes to the development of plaque in the lining of arteries, making them narrower, stiffer and more prone to being blocked by a blood clot. However, some researchers have sought to develop treatments that increase HDL cholesterol (HDL-C). Studies suggest that healthy levels of HDL-C (above 40 in men, above 50 in women) may protect against heart attack and stroke,…

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