For patients with high blood cholesterol who do not respond to statin drugs, researchers at Haifa’s Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed a new chemical molecule that helps reduce dangerous fat in the blood.
The molecule, an antioxidant known as 1- FE, fights heart disease on two fronts. Not only does it lower cholesterol, but it also eliminates oxygen free radicals that cause organs and tissues to age. The researchers maintain that this compound could be a promising alternative to statins, the most prescribed cholesterol- lowering drug in the world.
High cholesterol and excess free radicals pose major risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). Healthful lifestyles and low cholesterol help prevent CVD, but many people still fail to maintain optimum levels of cholesterol in the blood. Most cholesterol does not come from food; rather, it is produced by the body.
Statins reduce cholesterol levels by acting as competitive inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl- CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase, an enzyme that causes the chemical reaction of cholesterol biosynthesis. Some people do not respond to statins or suffer from upsetting side effects.
Dr. Adi Haber, Prof. Zeev Gross and colleagues belonging to the Technion chemistry faculty have proposed an alternative to statins in RSC, a journal published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The alternative molecule works completely differently than statins, as they have a completely different structure and are catalytic oxidation inhibitors.
These scientists plan to study the effects of 1-Fe in diabetes and other diseases connected to cholesterol.
Prof. Bato Korac, who studies oxidation-regulation mechanisms in health and disease at the University of Belgrade in Serbia, said he recognized the advantages of the new complex.
All these processes, he said, open up new perspectives on the treatment of diseases characterized by high levels of blood cholesterol.