New studies suggest that heart disease may someday become preventable with vaccine and antibody therapy.
NEW VACCINE AND ANTIBODIES MAY PREVENT HEART DISEASE
As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, cancer has recently surpassed cardiovascular disease to become the #1 cause of death in many areas of the world. However, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease and stroke continue to kill millions of people around the world every year.
In general, atherosclerotic artery disease arises when thick “plaques” develop on the inner walls of arteries. These plaques can rupture, thus exposing their inner surfaces, which can then activate the components of the blood responsible for forming blood clots. The progression of blood clots on the surface “atheromatous” plaques within the arteries of the heart and brain can directly cause blockage of affected arteries, leading to a heart attack or stroke, respectively. Even more commonly, however, clumps of clot and atheromatous plaque can break off and travel downstream, where they block coronary artery and brain artery branches, causing heart attacks (myocardial infarction) and strokes, respectively. As inflammation, caused by our bodies’ white blood cells and antibodies, plays an important role in the development of atherosclerosis, scientists have been testing both vaccines and blocking antibodies in laboratory animals in an effort to prevent (or even reverse) the development of atherosclerosis, in the hope that heart attacks and strokes (and limb loss, in the case of peripheral vascular disease) can be prevented.
Two experimental new approaches to preventing and treating cardiovascular disease were unveiled at the Frontiers in Cardiovascular Biology conference this past week in London, and they have generated a great deal of interest among cardiovascular disease experts around the world.
In one recent study, which was performed using laboratory mice, an experimental vaccine (“CVX-210”) that reprograms inflammatory white bloods cells into inflammation-fighting white blood cells was evaluated. In this mouse study, the CVX-210 vaccine was able to reduce the extent of arterial atherosclerosis by 60 to 70 percent! While treatments that are effective in laboratory mice do not always work in humans, the manufacturer of the CVX-210 vaccine, CardioVax, is currently awaiting FDA approval to begin preliminary human clinical trials.
A second immunological approach to the prevention and treatment of arterial atherosclerosis involves the use of blocking antibodies that are designed to target oxidized LDL cholesterol (the “bad cholesterol,” which is a major component of atherosclerotic plaques, and which also participates in the inflammatory cascade that leads directly to plaque formation.) When injected into a patient, these antibodies attack oxidized LDL particles and, theoretically, block the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. At this time, there is an ongoing human clinical trial that is evaluating this “BI-204” human monoclonal antibody. (In preclinical studies, BI-204 has already been shown to decrease the extent of existing arterial atherosclerotic plaques in laboratory animals by as much as 50 percent!)
In addition to the potential of the CVX-210 vaccine and the BI-204 human monoclonal antibody to significantly reduce, and possibly prevent, arterial atherosclerosis, these two still experimental therapies, if proven to be safe and effective in humans, would also be available for use in combination with current cardiovascular disease prevention therapies, including the cholesterol blocking statin drugs, high blood pressure medications, and diabetes medications. (When considered together, these three current, conventional treatments for the most common risk factors for cardiovascular disease are estimated to reduce the risk of heart attack by about 40 percent.) Because all of these therapies target different risk factors for cardiovascular disease, combining CVX-210 and/or BI-204 with current conventional cardiovascular disease prevention therapies could dramatically further reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease and significantly prolong our lives in the future.
As a disease prevention expert, I consider these two new developments to be of potentially enormous importance in the area of cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment. Given that inflammation is known to play an important role in the development of both cardiovascular disease and cancer, I will be very interested to see if these two new experimental approaches to cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment also have a beneficial risk on cancer risk as well!
For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!
Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com “Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.
Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity
Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author
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