Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is needed by the body to build cells or make vitamins. However, high levels of cholesterol can contribute to building up hard deposits, so called plaques, at the walls of arteries. In this way the risk for cardiovascular diseases like heart attack or stroke is increased.1 Cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death worldwide, being responsible for 27% of all deaths.2
According to the WHO, the global prevalence of raised total cholesterol among adults was 39%. Raised total cholesterol was estimated to contribute to about 2.6M deaths worldwide.3
Usually, high levels of cholesterol are treated with statins. Some people will not tolerate statins, showing muscle or cognitive adverse events, or will not achieve sufficient reduction in their cholesterol levels. In addition, statins are taken orally and compliance to the daily schedule is only 54%. After one year of treatment only half of the patients are still taking their medication regularly. Recently, two monoclonal antibodies targeting proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin Type 9 (PCSK9), a protein involved in the regulation of cholesterol in the blood, were licensed by the U.S. FDA. However, these therapies need to be injected every two or four weeks and come with high costs.4
To overcome the issues associated with currently available treatments, new efficient, cost-effective therapies with convenient administration schedules are needed.
- https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol. Accessed 15 December 2021
- https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/the-top-10-causes-of-death. Accessed 15 December 2021
- https://www.who.int/data/gho/indicator-metadata-registry/imr-details/3236. Accessed 15 December 2021
- Trentman TM et al. J Anaesthesiol Clin Pharmacol. 2016 Oct-Dec; 32(4): 440–445.