July 22, 2011
RNA Drug For High Cholesterol

What's important here is the meta.

A number of drugs can help lower dangerously high cholesterol, but as many as half a million people worldwide are resistant to existing therapies. Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, a leader in the development of therapies using RNA, aims to begin human tests of a treatment that could make a drastic dent in drug-resistant high cholesterol.

Another drug for lowering cholesterol is not so important in the long run. What is at stake: If an RNA drug can work then that opens the door to a huge number of highly effective drugs that can do things that conventional chemical compound drugs can never do. An RNA drug delivers more information and can alter the cell's execution of its own genetic programming in very precise ways. RNA drugs could lead to a huge surge in new therapies to instruct cells do cease harmful activities and instead do repair and clean-up.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2011 July 22 08:19 AM  Biotech Gene Hacking


Comments
anony-mouse said at July 22, 2011 5:33 PM:

Simple drugs for reducing high cholesterol:
1) Omega-3 (fish oil, flax seed oil)
2) Curcumin (extract of Turmeric - the yellow stuff in curries)


I won't argue against the research for all possible ways to reduce cholesterol. There might be people immune to the effects of my suggestions... or perhaps allergic. But, for a practical way for the majority of people, why mess with the RNA when you don't need to do so?

BMB said at July 23, 2011 1:09 PM:

Flax seed oil is primarily an omega-6 (ALA)and studies have shown no benefit for lipids or heart disease. It does have other benefits but not for this.

Fish oils contain Omega-3 (specifically DHA and EPA) which have shown reductions in sudden cardiac death. It does help HDL "good cholesterol" and Triglycerides, but is not very effective for LDL "bad cholesterol" which is what this study was specifically dealing with. There is a prescription formulation of fish oil and multiple large scale studies.

I am not familiar with Curcumin and have seen no large scale studies on it.

If discussing herbal remedies for dyslipedemia, Two others should be mentioned.

Red rice yeast is what pravastatin is made from and is beneficial (but you never can know how much pravastatin you are getting that way).

Niacin also has multiple studies demonstrating improvements in HDL, LDL and triglycerides as well as a proven mortality benefit. Be aware that there are multiple over-the-counter and prescription forms but the OTC immediate release and prescription Niaspan are the only ones which have studies to show mortality benefits. Also be aware that benefits are at high doses, tolerability is an issue, and liver monitoring should be performed.

Finally, two forms of fiber, specifically Oat and psillium have consistantly demonstrated LDL improvments (with no mortality data that I am aware of) and Orlistat (Alli, Xenical) has shown LDL improvement (independent of weight loss, which what it is for) but again I have not seen mortality data.

TMLutas said at July 23, 2011 1:26 PM:

I do not understand the callousness that objects to something that in the immediate instance can solve a serious health issue for half a million people. Go die quietly, we don't want to mess around with RNA because the issues surrounding it are personally icky is an odious attitude.

So a half million people helped here, a quarter million there, soon you're talking about significant progress in helping people live longer, higher quality lives. What's not to like?

awh said at July 23, 2011 3:24 PM:

Someone should first establish the actual link to high cholesterol and heart disease... just because firetrucks show up to a fire doesn't mean they are the problem.

And don't bother posting that Ancel Keys said it was so.

Nanonymous said at July 23, 2011 11:13 PM:

Small, very small chance of success. And not because of anything related to siRNA. Drug targeting has been the next greatest thing ever since early 1980s, when monoclonal antibodies became available. Easily over 100,000 papers after, still little progress. The unfortunate reality of non-specific interactions keep interfering. This is a very hard thing to crack because the problem is so fundamental - everything interacts with everything else with some low affinity.

Brett Bellmore said at July 24, 2011 11:28 AM:

But that's where an RNA drug is likely to excel, as it doesn't work due to general chemical effects, but instead due to it's information content. It specifically targets a particular relevant gene.

Very different from your usual drugs, closer to a way of temporarily genetically re engineering somebody.

PacRim Jim said at July 24, 2011 12:13 PM:

Imagine the same nitwits in Congress keeping their sinecures for centuries.
Imagine your boss never retiring, so you would have no hope of advancement.
Imagine dictators retaining absolute control for millennia.
Imagine Oprah news for ages.
Imagine Windows 10^23.

Relatively immortality is not without cost.

Brett Bellmore said at July 24, 2011 1:00 PM:

If that's the cost, give me immortality.

Imagine passing term limits.
Imagine starting your own freaking business.
Imagine putting a bullet through the dictator's brain.
Imagine changing the channel.
Imagine you use linux.

That all you got?

Nanonymous said at July 24, 2011 1:51 PM:

But that's where an RNA drug is likely to excel, as it doesn't work due to general chemical effects,

Before RNA does anything, it needs to be delivered to just the right cells (and not others) and internalized by them. It is now done by coating it in something that is 1) protective, 2) able to hold molecules that bind preferentially to the target cells, 3) stimulatory with regard to intracellular uptake. #1 and 3 are easy and there are several approaches that work. #2 typically has selectivity factor of ~100-1000 even in vitro. So if there are 10,000 other cells to each target cell in the body (as in, say, early neoplasm condition), most of the drug won't be delivered to the target cells. Increasing selectivity is awfully hard - there is no such thing is completely neutral molecule in biology - everything interacts with everything else to some extent.

Randall Parker said at July 25, 2011 12:41 AM:

Imagine John Lennon still alive in a parallel universe.

Smith said at November 2, 2012 9:37 AM:

An RNA drug delivers more information and can alter the cell's execution of its own genetic programming in very precise ways. RNA drugs could lead to a huge surge in new therapies to instruct cells do cease harmful activities and instead do repair and clean-up mac drm removal.

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