MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Luca A. Lotta, MD, PhD
Senior Clinical Investigator
MRC Epidemiology Unit
University of Cambridge
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
- Drugs that enhance the breakdown of circulating triglycerides by activating lipoprotein lipase (LPL) are in pre-clinical or early-clinical development.
- It is not known if these drugs will reduce heart attacks or diabetes risk when added to the current first line therapies (statins and other cholesterol-lowering agents).
- Studying this would require large randomised controlled trials, which are expensive (millions of GBPs) and time-consuming (years).
- Human genetic data can be used to provide supportive evidence of whether this therapy is likely to be effective by “simulating” a randomised controlled trial.
- Our study used naturally occurring genetic variants in the general population (study of ~400,000 people) to address this.
- Individuals with naturally-lower cholesterol due to their genetic makeup were used as model for cholesterol-lowering therapies (eg. Statins).
- Individuals with naturally-lower triglycerides due to genetic variants in the LPL gene were used as model for these new triglyceride-lowering therapies.
- We studied the risk of heart attacks and type 2 diabetes in people in different groups.