A major discovery about heart disease could lead to a new treatment that could combat this leading killer of people in the United States and worldwide.
Scientists may have just discovered a new way to protect people from stroke or a second heart attack, based on a clinical trial involving more than 10,000 heart attack patients. By using drugs designed to stop inflammation, scientists were able to find evidence that such a method can stop heart attacks in their tracks.
While scientists have long pursued this method of combating heart problems, up until now there hadn’t been a trial that showed conclusively that it works. This study is an indication that there is indeed a connection between heart attacks and inflammation.
The findings show that using anti-inflammatory drugs result in modest effects on future heart attacks, but it still represent a huge step forward in better understanding what causes heart attacks and the results appear to have won over many skeptics who didn’t believe there was a connection.
“Experimental and clinical data suggest that reducing inflammation without affecting lipid levels may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Yet, the inflammatory hypothesis of atherothrombosis has remained unproved,” reads the intro from the paper, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “We conducted a randomized, double-blind trial of canakinumab, a therapeutic monoclonal antibody targeting interleukin-1β, involving 10,061 patients with previous myocardial infarction and a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein level of 2 mg or more per liter. The trial compared three doses of canakinumab (50 mg, 150 mg, and 300 mg, administered subcutaneously every 3 months) with placebo. The primary efficacy end point was nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, or cardiovascular death.”