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Canakinumab may lower heart attack risk

30 August 2017 09:07

A new drug may carry a boost for heart attack and cancer patients

A new drug may carry a boost for heart attack and cancer patients

A study has discovered that a new drug could help cut cancer deaths, as well as potentially reduce the risk of heart attacks.

More than 10,000 patients, all of whom had previously had a heart attack but had not been diagnosed with cancer, took part in a trial using the anti-inflammatory Canakinumab.

They were treated once every three months and monitored for four years.

Milestone in a long journey

It was found that there was a 15% reduction in the risk of heart attacks and strokes, while cancer deaths were cut in half.

Commenting on the study, which was presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Barcelona, Dr Paul Ridker of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston said it "represents a milestone in a long journey".

"For the first time, we've been able to definitively show that lowering inflammation independent of cholesterol reduces cardiovascular risk," he said.

"This has far-reaching implications. It tells us that by leveraging an entirely new way to treat patients - targeting inflammation - we may be able to significantly improve outcomes for certain very high-risk populations."

He added that further research is needed into the drug's effects on cancer.

A platform for the future

Gary Gibbons, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, said the results provide a platform on which to carry out further trials and research.

He added that while the trial offers "compelling evidence" that targeting inflammation efficacy is preventing recurrent cardiovascular events, the Institute is also looking forward to findings from additional trials, including the NHLBI-funded Cardiovascular Inflammation Reduction Trial, to help further refine the best therapeutic strategies for preventing heart disease.

People who have undergone cancer treatment in the past can arrange specialist medical travel insurance when taking holidays.