ACC: Atherosclerosis Impervious to HDL Infusions

March 26, 2007

NEW ORLEANS -- Artificially boosting high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels does not reverse atherosclerosis, though it may have some vascular benefit, researchers said here.

NEW ORLEANS, March 26 -- Artificially boosting high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels does not reverse atherosclerosis, though it may have some vascular benefit, said researchers here.

In the ERASE trial of 183 patients with recent acute coronary syndromes, weekly infusions of CSL-111, an investigational agent made with reconstituted HDL from human plasma, showed no significant advantage over placebo in reducing plaque volumes, said Jean-Claude Tardif, M.D., of the Montreal Heart Institute in Montreal.

However, there were significant improvements in atheroma volume versus baseline with the agent as well as in plaque characteristics and coronary scores versus placebo "strongly suggestive of rapid beneficial effects," Dr. Tardif said at the American College of Cardiology meeting here. His findings were simultaneously published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

At the ACC session, there was optimism about the investigational HDL raising agent, despite the negative findings.

"I think this therapy has great promise," said John J.P. Kastelein, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Amsterdam. . He characterized the lack of significance in the primary endpoint is just a consequence of small sample size.