Researchers have developed an experimental version of a new gene-editing therapy called CRISPR treatment which may help high cholesterol patients. High cholesterol affects millions of Americans, and it is connected with a huge number of severe health complications.
The new study on mice exhibits the efficiency of lipid nanoparticle injectables to add CRISPR-to the test bodies. Only a single shot of this genome editing parts helped to bring down the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels to a significantly high level of 56.8%.
The complete findings of this study are published in the journal PNAS.
On the other side, the already in practice lipid nanoparticle which has received FDA-approval can only bring down the cholesterol levels to 15.7%. But the results of this new CRISPR treatment are only tested in mice and before introducing it for humans, it is testing in human participants is necessary. Without human trials, it is hard to evaluate its safety and risks. But once these results are here, there would be nothing that could stop it to be a part of cholesterol treatment in the US.
This CRISPR treatment works by acting upon a gene named Angiopoietin-like 3 (Angptl3) that is responsible for making proteins that further prevent fat breakdown in the blood. Those who have a mutated version of this experience low levels of bad cholesterol which otherwise leads to a number of health complications.
High blood cholesterol levels is a leading concern in the United States where nearly 38% adults are suffering from high cholesterol issue. This increased cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart diseases as well as stroke which are the two biggest causes of early death.
Like other diseases, there are no signs or symptoms of having high cholesterol and most people only get to know about it after they get their lipids profile done. Or, they know about their increased cholesterol level after they experience a heart attack or stroke when the damage is already done.
According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), men over 45 years of age and women over 55 years of age are at high risk of high cholesterol and heart diseases. But if the cholesterol issues start at an early age, there are chances to experience heart diseases even before reaching 45 or 50 years of age.
Ideally, the LDL cholesterol levels should never exceed 100 mg/dL. Between 100 to 129 mg/dL, the cholesterol levels are acceptable and may not cause disease but exceeding this level, may invite a number of health problems to hit them.
For years, the researchers were working to modify this process, using different treatments which may work just like how the mutation would work. Only if there was a solution to mutate this Angptl3 gene, there are good chances that people would be saved from high blood pressure issues.
But it is necessary to make sure that the gene editing is targeting the right gene so that the side effects remain minimal. But without analyzing the response from human bodies, it is hard to say if CRISPR treatment for cholesterol would be introduced for humans, in any time soon.
To understand its safety and efficiency in humans, more detailed clinical studies are required.