Medical Research Charities > News > Antibodies could stop heart disease, study finds, SD Union Tribune

Antibodies could stop heart disease, study finds, SD Union Tribune

Now in cancer trials, antibodies block atherosclerosis in mouse study

Antibodies that help the immune system remove dead and dying cells have been shown to reduce atherosclerosis in mouse models of cardiovascular disease, a study led by Stanford University researchers reports.

These antibodies are already being tested in people against cancer, raising the possibility that they could be repurposed for a clinical trial in heart disease relatively quickly.

The antibodies attack a molecule present on the cells called CD47, which signals macrophages not to destroy cells bearing that marker. This “don’t eat me” molecule works with a cellular receptor called signal regulatory protein alpha, or SIRP α to inhibit the attack.

CD47 is normally removed in dead or dying cells, allowing the body’s clean-up crew to remove debris. In cancer, CD47 is highly activated, enabling the malignant cells to evade immune system surveillance. The antibodies remove this shield, allowing immune cells to inspect and destroy them.

The researchers found that in cases of atherosclerosis, CD47 is present when it shouldn’t be. After researchers gave the antibodies to mice, the macrophages resumed their normal role, removing the cells and associated debris. In many cases, this actually caused the plaques to shrink.

Click here to read the full article by Bradley J. Fikes, The San Diego Union Tribune.