Scientists have identifid an orally administered drug that they found regulates cholesterol in animal models by 70%. As per research, a previously unrecognised strategy for managing cholesterol may impact cancer treatments. After statins, the next leading class of medications for managing cholesterol are PCSK9 inhibitors.
These highly effective agents help the body pull excess cholesterol from the blood, but unlike statins, which are available as oral agents, PCSK9 inhibitors can only be administeredas shots, creating barriers to their use. `In the recent study, researchers at University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, US, developed an orally administered small-molecule drug that reduces PCSK9 levels and lowers cholesterol in animal models by 70%.
Statins only lower cholesterol so far. This is a drug class that we think would represent a new way to lower cholesterol, a new way to hit PCSK9. According to researchers, central to cholesterol regulation are LDL receptors, which sit at the surface of liver cells and remove cholesterol from the blood, thereby lowering serum levels. PCSK9 in theblood stream controls the number of LDL receptors by marking them for degradation. Therefore, agents that inhibit PCSK9 increase the number of LDL receptors that remove cholesterol. Nitric Oxide is a molecule that is known to prevent heart attacks by dilating blood vessels.
In addition to impacting the field of cholesterol metabolism, the findings may impact patients with cancer, as emerging evidence suggests targeting PCSK9 can improve the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies. PCSK9 not only targets LDL receptors for degradation, of MHC1 on lymphocytes, which is used for recognition of cancer cells.