It's the leading cause of heart disease and stroke: atherosclerosis--a disease characterized by the thickening of arterial walls, restricting blood flow like a narrow pipe. Preventing and reversing this disease is still largely a puzzle to scientists working to put all the right pieces into place and form a complete picture of health for millions of patients who suffer its devastating effects worldwide.
So notes a University of Kentucky researcher whose perspective is published in the current issue of Nature. Alan Daugherty, director of the University of Kentucky Cardiovascular Research Center, and Dr. Daniel Rader, an endocrinologist and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, co-authored the article, which offers insight into the complex process of translating scientific discoveries in the laboratory into new therapies for atherosclerosis.
While advances have been made in understanding how genetics, metabolism of HDL and LDL cholesterol, the inflammatory process, blood clots, and blood pressure regulation all play a part in the atherosclerosis disease process, a solution is likely many years away and will require huge but worthwhile investments of time, money and collaboration across fields of study. Decisions remain about which drugs to advance to clinical trials and how to measure the success of those therapies, Daugherty and Rader note.