Tuesday, January 23, 2018
News Roundup

Race on for a hit cholesterol drug

She was a 32-year-old aerobics instructor from a Dallas suburb — healthy, college-educated, with two young children. Nothing out of the ordinary, except one thing.

Her cholesterol was astoundingly low. Her low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, the form that promotes heart disease, was 14 — unheard-of in healthy adults whose normal level is over 100.

The reason was a rare gene mutation she had inherited from her mother and her father. Only one other person, a young, healthy Zimbabwean woman whose LDL cholesterol was 15, has been found with the same double dose of the mutation.

The discovery of the mutation and of the two women with their dazzlingly low LDL levels has set off one of the greatest medical chases ever. It is a fevered race among three pharmaceutical companies — Amgen, Pfizer and Sanofi — to test and win approval for a drug that mimics the effects of the mutation, drives LDL levels to new lows and prevents heart attacks. All three companies have drugs in clinical trials and report that their results, so far, are exciting.

"This is our top priority," said Dr. Andrew Plump, the head of translational medicine at Sanofi. "Nothing else we are doing has the same public health impact."

Dr. Gary Gibbons, director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, estimates that even if the drugs were expensive and injected, as many as 2 million Americans might be candidates. But if they could eventually be made affordable and in pill form — two very big ifs — they might be used by one in four adults, he said.

Despite major gains over the past half-century, heart disease remains the leading killer of Americans, causing nearly 600,000 deaths a year. Statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs that went on the market in 1987, were a huge breakthrough but far from a panacea.

So far, people with high cholesterol levels who are taking the drugs in studies have seen their LDL levels plunging from levels well over 100 to 50, 40 or lower. Like insulin for diabetes, the drugs are injected, but they are taken once or twice a month.

Comments
ScarFace the Hawk scarfs up prized neckwear to make Coquina Key home

ScarFace the Hawk scarfs up prized neckwear to make Coquina Key home

ST. PETERSBURG — Some 25 feet up in the air, towering over Coquina Key Island sits a hawk surveying the park below. It is on the hunt for any bit of material so it can to prepare a nest for future hatchlings. Whether it be sticks, hay, palm leaves, a...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
He drove into Tampa Bay and walked away uninjured, troopers say

He drove into Tampa Bay and walked away uninjured, troopers say

A Miami resident lost control of his truck and tumbled into Tampa Bay Tuesday morning — and walked away unscathed.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Osvaldo Jares, 25, fell asleep at the wheel of his 2002 Ford F150 before losing control and dri...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Parents of 12-year-old Florida girl say she was bullied into suicide

Parents of 12-year-old Florida girl say she was bullied into suicide

Gabriella "Gabbie" Green went to her mother, Tanya Green, for advice on some "girl drama" and harsh text and social media messages she was receiving from classmates at Surfside Middle School in Panama City Beach.Less than an hour after that conversat...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pasco joins opioid litigation

Pasco joins opioid litigation

NEW PORT RICHEY – Once every three days in 2017, somebody in Pasco County overdosed on opioids. The statistic, revealed Tuesday by Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco, helped cement the Pasco County Commission’s decision a few minutes later to join ongoing lit...
Updated: 1 hour ago
No reports of dog flu in Tampa Bay, but another virus could pose threat

No reports of dog flu in Tampa Bay, but another virus could pose threat

A nasty strain of the flu is sweeping the country and the CDC reports that deadly cases have increased in nearly every region of the United States. To make matters worse, your pets are also at risk of catching their own flu.But while Humane Society o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Top 5 at noon: Hillsborough State Attorney will seek death penalty in Seminole Heights killings; Florida voters will have say on restoring voting rights to felons; and more

Top 5 at noon: Hillsborough State Attorney will seek death penalty in Seminole Heights killings; Florida voters will have say on restoring voting rights to felons; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:HILLSBOROUGH STATE ATTORNEY WILL SEEK DEATH PENALTY IN SEMINOLE HEIGHTS KILLINGSHillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren will seek the death penalty for Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, the 24-...
Updated: 2 hours ago
This year’s Oscar nominations listened to #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite

This year’s Oscar nominations listened to #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite

An Oscar statuette doesn’t have ears, but Academy Award voters are listening, as this year’s nominations make clear.Complaints about a membership too white and sexist and months of scandalous Hollywood revelations were answered with a list of nominee...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Go a step beyond basketball junkie, and that’s UT’s Staja Tyghter

Go a step beyond basketball junkie, and that’s UT’s Staja Tyghter

TAMPA — She’s the leading scorer and rebounder for the University of Tampa’s women’s basketball team, so junior Staja Tyghter has clearly made an impact during her first season on UT’s campus.It didn’t happen by accident."You’ve heard of terms like ‘...
Updated: 2 hours ago
CEO Nancy Tower’s goal for Tampa Electric: renewable energy

CEO Nancy Tower’s goal for Tampa Electric: renewable energy

TAMPA — Tampa Electric Co.’s future will be green if new CEO Nancy Tower has anything to say about it. Speaking at a panel Tuesday, Tower outlined her vision for pushing the Tampa-based utility toward renewable energy."One of the biggest things we’re...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hillsborough State Attorney will seek death penalty in Seminole Heights killings

Hillsborough State Attorney will seek death penalty in Seminole Heights killings

TAMPA — Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren will seek the death penalty for Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, the 24-year-old accused of killing four people in southeast Seminole Heights last year."The death penalty is for the worst of the worst, c...
Updated: 2 hours ago