Lowering Triglycerides and Cholesterol Could Reduce Heart Disease and Diabetes Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Luca A. Lotta, MD, PhD Senior Clinical Investigator MRC Epidemiology Unit University of Cambridge

Dr. Lotta

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.

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