Researchers have developed a vaccine to reduce cholesterol levels, with promising results in animal models.
A new study published in the journal Vaccine has reported on the development of a vaccine for cholesterol. PCSK9 is a protein that is responsible for regulating cholesterol by promoting the destruction of the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDL-R). PCSK9 therefore acts to increase overall levels of LDL-cholesterol.
Researchers from the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of New Mexico, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, aimed to target PCSK9, by creating a vaccine that could induce an antibody response against the protein PCSK9. The researchers created ‘virus-like particle’ (VLP)-based vaccines and tested them in mice and macaque monkeys, which were used as experimental models. The researchers found that vaccinating these animals resulted in significant reductions in total cholesterol, free cholesterol, phospholipids, and triglycerides.
The researchers suggest that this form of vaccine, targeting the cholesterol regulating protein, PCSK9, appears to be a promising avenue to treat high cholesterol in people. This VLP-based vaccine method is cost-effective, and shows potential for use in the control of cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. More research is necessary to develop this treatment further, however the results show potential for major health impact worldwide.
Crossey, E, Amar, MJA, Sampson, M, Peabody, J, Schiller, JT, Chackerian, B, Remaley, AT. “A cholesterol-lowering VLP vaccine that targets PCSK9” Vaccine, Volume 33, Issue 43, 26 October 2015, Pages 5747–5755.
Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD