A known risk factor for myocardial infarction, vascular spasms and stroke is high blood levels of the ’bad’ cholesterol LDL. If this blood cholesterol could be combated more effectively with drugs, more cases of illness could be prevented.

One method of reducing blood cholesterol is to treat patients with thyroid hormone, but this has serious adverse effects on the heart. Researchers have therefore been trying to develop drugs that mimic the cholesterol-sinking properties of the hormone without producing its side-effects.

Scientists at Karolinska Institutet, in association with pharmaceutical company Karo Bio and researchers from the University of California San Francisco have now studied the effects of a thyroid hormone mimic compound in humans for the first time. The results show that it gave a significant drop in LDL cholesterol in a small group of patients with heightened cholesterol levels without causing any of the adverse reactions associated with conventional thyroid hormone treatment.

“The substance works by stimulating the metabolism of cholesterol into bile acids and should therefore be able to offer new therapeutic possibilities, especially in combination with existing cholesterol-sinking drugs like statins,” says Professor Bo Angelin, Karolinska Institutet. “Studies are now being conducted to evaluate efficacy and safety on a larger patient material.”

“The thyroid hormone mimetic compound KB2115 lowers plasma low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol without cardiac effects in man”
Anders Berkenstam, Jens Kristensen, Karin Mellström, Bo Carlsson, Johan Malm, Stefan Rehnmark, Neeraj Garg, Carl Magnus Andersson, Mats Rudling, Folke Sjöberg, Bo Angelin, and John D. Baxter
PNAS, Early Edition 17-21 December 2007.

For further information, please contact:

Professor Bo Angelin
Tel: +46 (0)8-585 823 44 or +46 (0)70-484 01 15
Email: Bo.Angelin@ki.se

Press Officer Katarina Sternudd
Tel: +46 (0)8-524 838 95 or +46 (0)70-224 38 95
Email: katarina.sternudd@ki.se

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