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Alnylam researchers find potential cholesterol drug


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Technology Review reports that scientists at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals have found a new drug that may be able to reduce unhealthy LDL cholesterol in patients who don’t respond to conventional cholesterol-lowering drugs.

The scientists conducted a study, posted in online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that tested a drug that uses RNA interference on animals, finding that it lowered cholesterol in up to 60 percent of rodents and monkeys, lasting for about three weeks.

The drug prevents the production of the enzyme PCSK9 by binding RNA molecules to messenger RNA in cells and causing them to self-destruct.

They said the drug might have potential to lower cholesterol in people who don’t respond to other drugs due to genetic factors, or it might be combined with other drugs.

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