“Biggest Breakthrough since Statins” – New Heart Treatment Revealed
US research, known as the CANTOS study, has found that anti-inflammatory injections could lower the risk of heart attacks and may slow down the progression of cancer.
The study, led from Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston, USA, has investigated whether targeting patients’ inflammation with a strong anti-inflammatory agent would provide extra benefit over statin treatment. The researchers have described their findings as “the biggest breakthrough since the discovery of statins”.
Currently, statins are the go-to drugs for heart attack prevention, working to lower the cholesterol levels of patients. However, despite regular consumption a quarter of people who have one heart attack, will suffer another within five years; this is believed to be due to unchecked inflammation with the heart’s arteries.
The research team enrolled over 10,000 patients who had previously suffered a heart attack, and had a positive blood test for inflammation, into the trial. Over the course of four years, every patient was injected with high doses of statins as well as Canakinumab (a potent anti-inflammatory drug) once every three months.
For those who received the Canakinumab injection, the findings were as follows:
Leader of the research team, Dr Paul Ridker, expressed his joy that the study “ushers in a new era of therapeutics”. He said: “For the first time, we’ve been able to definitively show that lowering inflammation independent of cholesterol reduces cardiovascular risk.
“This has far-reaching implications. It tells us that by leveraging an entirely new way to treat patients – targeting inflammation – we may be able to significantly improve outcomes for certain very high-risk populations.”
Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, was as equally optimistic about the results of the trial:
“Cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins are given to these people to reduce their risk of another heart attack and this undoubtedly saves lives. But we know that lowering cholesterol alone is not always enough.
“These exciting and long-awaited trial results finally confirm that ongoing inflammation contributes to risk of heart disease, and [lowering it] could help save lives.”