Researchers at the University of New Mexico have teamed up with the National Institutes of Health to develop a vaccine that supposedly prevents high cholesterol.
While the vaccine is in its early stages of testing – being administered on mice and monkeys only, so far – the results are promising.
The journal Vaccine suggests this injectable way of preventing bad cholesterol build up could be a glimpse to the future. Right now, millions of people regularly take cholesterol-lowering statins to prevent heart-related illness.
A key protein, PCSK9, is targeted by the vaccine. PCSK9 is manages the cholesterol levels in the blood, and by interfering with this protein, the researchers are able to lower cholesterol in the blood. Just one vaccination showed a significant drop in LDL cholesterol, or the ‘bad kind’ of cholesterol.
“One of the most exciting things about this new vaccine is it seems to be much more effective than statins alone,” study author Dr. Bryce Chackerian from the University of New Mexico said in a statement.
Statins can have side effects, which is why researchers have looked for other options, including this groundbreaking vaccine.
But again, more research has to be done – like testing the vaccine on humans, to start.