The FDA approved today a generic version of Pfizer's Lipitor, one of the world's best selling drugs. Known pharmaceutically as atorvastatin calcium tablets, Lipitor is used to reduce cholesterol. The generic version will be manufactured by Ohm Laboratories in New Brunswick, N.J. Cholesterol itself is not a major problem and is, in fact, an essential nutrient for the body. However, if blood levels are high, it tends to signal the possibility of fatty deposits building up in the arteries, especially those in the heart, thus over time causing heart failure. Although easily detected with a simple blood test, there are no symptoms, and thus many people are unaware of the condition, and not all cholesterol is bad. There are three different types : high-density lipoprotein (HDL) low-density lipoprotein (LDL) triglycerides HDL (good cholesterol) helps keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries.
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have identified for the first time the A2b adenosine receptor (A2bAR) as a possible new therapeutic target against atherosclerosis resulting from a diet high in fat and cholesterol. The findings, which appear on-line in Circulation, may have significant public health implications. Adenosine is a metabolite produced naturally by cells at low levels, and at higher levels during exercise or stress. Adenosine binds to and activates cell surface receptors, one of which is the A2bAR. Previous studies have described the A2bAR as anti-inflammatory and protective against kidney ischemia, cardiac reperfusion injury and restenosis, typically via bone marrow cell signals. In mouse models, BUSM researchers found atherosclerosis induced by a high-fat diet was more pronounced in the absence of the A2bAR.
Exemestane steadily lowered levels of "good" cholesterol in women taking the agent as part of a breast cancer prevention study, say researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Exemestane, an aromatase inhibitor used to treat estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, is being tested to prevent breast cancer in women at an increased risk of developing the disease. Georgetown researchers say their findings, presented at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), suggest that the effect this agent has on blood lipids may prove to be significant for women at high risk for heart disease due to elevated blood cholesterol, although no such effects have been seen yet in patients studied over two years of treatment. There are two types of cholesterol transported in our blood - HDL and LDL.
Scientists from the University of Leicester and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have announced a major advance towards developing drugs to tackle dangerous, or 'bad', cholesterol in the body. They have filed two patents for developing targeted drugs that would act as a catalyst for lowering levels of 'bad' cholesterol. Two research papers published by the academics enhance the understanding of the regulation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol. LDL, the so-called "bad" cholesterol, is often linked to medical problems like heart disease, stroke and clogged arteries. In the body, cells in the liver produce an LDL receptor that binds LDL and removes it from the blood, thereby lowering cholesterol levels. The scientists have characterised an enzyme called IDOL that plays a key role in regulating the amount of LDL receptor available to bind with 'bad' cholesterol.
People who carry a malfunctioning copy of a particular gene are especially good at clearing fat from their systems. The report in the December Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, shows how the mutant gene influences metabolism in this way. "It looks like this might be something good to have, " says Jan Albert Kuivenhoven of the University Medical Center Groningen in The Netherlands, but not so fast. It remains to be seen whether the people he studied will enjoy a lower incidence of heart disease or other health benefits. The new findings are also a win for genome-wide association studies, which have been under fire recently for their failure to explain many human diseases and traits. "It shows these studies can help us identify new biological roots, " Kuivenhoven says. Epidemiological studies have led to the notion that triglycerides and LDL cholesterol are bad for us while HDL cholesterol is good, he explained.