Researchers Discover Way to Lower Cholesterol with Single Injection

fitness-332278_640Scientists have developed a way to lower cholesterol with just one injection. By altering the way a liver gene works, it would eliminate the need for a daily pill to reduce the risk of a heart attack. Scientists at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and the University of Pennsylvania were able to disrupt the activity of the PCSK9 gene in mice. That is the gene that regulates cholesterol.

According to the lead researcher, they were able to drop lipid levels by 35 to 40 percent, the same amount as a cholesterol drug such as Pfizer’s Lipitor or Astra Zeneca’s Crestor. Replacing these medications is still 5 to 10 years away, according to the researchers. Zintro expert Dr. Jonas Moses is a biomedical engineer. He shares his opinion about the study:

There is little question that a single-dose resolution to any human disease process or systemic dysfunction is noteworthy, even revolutionary. There have been other such interesting and exciting developments, in past…which failed — in human application — to meet their promising, initial animal model results.* Another, significant pool of medical innovations has failed to reach the healthcare marketplace, because of economic issues.**

Here is my take, as a former clinical researcher, life scientist, cancer biologist and biomedical innovator:

The only way for the end-user, professional medical community to establish whether or not this (or any potentially game-changing therapeutic agent) is, indeed, a medical boon, and true innovation, is to continue forward with funding and experimental research.

There is no question in my mind that a single-dose “cure” represents breakthrough science. In a field of Human practice historically (and still) described as an “Art” — that is to say, Medicine — which has often struggled to employ Scientific Method to wholly successful ends, anything that imbues the Medical Arts with more Science, must be viewed as beneficial and, therefore, desirable and essential.

* There are inherent challenges when employing animal models in the exploration of human diseases and potential therapeutic responses. Especially in the case of mouse models, we have seen decades of failed efforts, for example, wherein mice were utilized in studying sepsis drugs. No less than a head of the NIH (Dr. Francis Collins) stated this as fact, and I tend to defer to such notable and reliable sources.

In discussing the disconnect between mouse models and human subjects, Dr. Francis points out that “…Mice, however, apparently use distinct sets of genes to tackle trauma, burns, and bacterial toxins [different than those genes in humans]…no wonder drugs designed for the mice failed in humans: they were, in fact, treating different conditions!”

** When real medical innovation is developed and shown to be efficacious, experimentally, a common (and insidious) limiting factor in whether or not any human patient populations ever benefit from this novel therapeutic agent is…money. Unfortunate for the needy patient, manufacturers (pharmaceutical, biomedical, et al.) are driven by Boardroom Economics (“what is the return for our shareholders?”) and not by altruism. Single-dose cures may elevate the health of Humankind to new heights…if-and-only-if they ever find their way to market, which may prove more a matter of how the innovation impacts a company’s “bottom line,” than how it improves human life.

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