High plasma levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is a risk factor for atherosclerosis and ultimately coronary heart disease. The statin drugs, such as Pfizer's lipitor, are highly effective at lowering levels of this lipid in some patients and have spurred the search for other compounds that can reduce LDL levels to within the desired range.
In this issue of Nature Medicine, Thierry Grand-Perret and colleagues from GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals report on the identification of a novel class of compounds that lower cholesterol levels via a different mechanism to the statin drugs. These compounds bind to a sterol regulating protein that goes by the acronym, SCAP, and causes an increase in the number of a receptor for LDL which speeds up the removal of cholesterol from the plasma.
In an accompanying News & Views article, Daniel Rader of University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine explains how the new compounds work at the molecular level and remarks, "…several new approaches to reduction of plasma LDL cholesterol are likely to be introduced over the next decade."
Dr. Thierry Grand-Perret
91951 Les Ulis cedex
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Dr. Daniel J. Rader
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
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Phone: +1 215 662-9097
Fax: +1 215 573 8606
(C) Nature Medicine press release.
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