News Thursday February 23, 2012

New treatment could prevent good cholesterol from going bad

New research has revealed how HDL (‘good cholesterol’) is turned into LDL (‘bad cholesterol’) in the body.

Research conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has managed to discover how specific proteins in the blood are able to transform ‘good cholesterol’ into ‘bad cholesterol’, which could lead the way into developing more effective treatments for high cholesterol, thus preventing people from developing serious health conditions in the future. The research was published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology

CETP, also known as cholesterol ester transfer protein, is believed to reduce the levels of HDL and increase the level of LDL by facilitating the movement of cholesterol from HDL, meaning that more cholesterol gets transported to cells than away from them. This could then lead to blockages and eventually conditions such as arteriosclerosis.

To corroborate this research in the past has shown that, where levels of CETP have been insufficient, HDL levels have increased. This has meant that CETP has started to become the focus of many pharmaceutical companies looking for better ways to treat high cholesterol and to prevent heart disease.

Cholesterol is one of the leading causes of heart disease in the UK, and it’s also a difficult condition to detect. Although cholesterol can be prevented by making the right lifestyle choices, some people may end up requiring treatment, which mostly involves reducing the production of LDL by the liver with the help of statins. The development of the targeted CETP could potentially change the outlook for people with seriously high cholesterol levels in the future.

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