A Vienna-based company, AFFiRiS AG, has recently announced it has secured funding for development of a vaccine that may help fight atherosclerosis.
For years, we have had medications (most notably statins - Zocor, Crestor, Lipitor, Pravacol) that are extremely efficacious in lowering the low density lipoproteins (LDLs - I call them the "lousy" ones) which dramatically reduces the incidence of heart attacks in primary and secondary prevention.
Yet, we still do not have a good medication to raise the high density lipoproteins (HDLs - I call them the "healthy" ones). The HDLs are responsible for bringing cholesterol from the tissue (plaque) back to the liver for processing.
This new vaccine would be aimed at the cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP), which is an enzyme responsible for transferring cholesterol esters from HDL to LDL - therefore reding the "healthy" HDL. Over time, the vaccine should reduce the activity of this enzyme.
This is very cool.
It is still totally unproven and previous such vaccines have failed. Yet this current company successfully bio-engineered vaccines for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease already.
I look forward to hearing how this program progresses.