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New finding could lead to more effective cholesterol drugs

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Cholesterol-lowering statin medications have been a powerful tool for helping people improve their heart health, but a team of researchers is reporting that it may soon be possible to develop a new, more effective drug.

Investigators from the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Leicester reported in the journal Genes and Development and Proceedings of the National Academies of Science that they have found an enzyme that plays an active role in cholesterol regulation.

It may be possible to develop a new medication that mediates the activity of this enzyme, known as IDOL. This could help the body produce more cholesterol receptors, which trap cholesterol molecules, and lead to lower levels of blood lipids.

"Remarkably, IDOL only targets three proteins for degradation (all lipoprotein receptors) and this research paper greatly enhances our understanding of this specificity and identifies key residues involved in mediating this interaction," said lead researcher John Schwabe.

The team has already filed two patents for drugs that act on the IDOL enzyme. The team said these medications could represent a major advancement in treating high cholesterol.

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