A new drug that 'melts away' the fat that builds up inside arteries has been hailed as a 'big breakthrough' in the fight against heart disease.
The medication is currently being trialled for the treatment of breast cancer and diabetes but scientists at Aberdeen University discovered it could also boost cardiovascular health.
Just a single dose of trodusquemine used on mice 'completely reversed' atherosclerosis, a disease that causes most heart attacks and strokes.
Atherosclerosis causes arteries to become clogged with fatty substances called plaques.
The drug 'mimics' the effects of exercise and activates a protective enzyme. It also inhibits another enzyme that causes prolonged inflammation and hardens arteries.
Experts said their findings have the potential to ‘significantly reduce deaths’. Heart disease is the number one cause of death globally, killing 17.7 million people a year.
Just a single dose of trodusquemine completely reversed atherosclerosis – which causes most heart attacks – in tests on mice (stock photo)
Professor Mirela Delibegovic from the University of Aberdeen’s Institute of Medical Sciences who led the study told Mail Online: ‘We know this drug has been shown to have beneficial effects on reducing prolonged inflammation in type 2 diabetes and because this is also a factor in atherosclerosis we wanted to know if it had cardiovascular benefits too.
‘And our initial tests on mice show that it does, so this is potentially a big breakthrough.
‘Essentially, trodusquemine’s effects on key enzymes in play here are that it is stopping the bad guy and helping the good guy.
‘We will now need to carry out further research to see if the same effect is replicated in humans and it is safe.’
The researchers say trodusquemine works by stopping an enzyme called PTP1B, which is normally increased in people with obesity or diabetes.
It is also raised in other conditions involving prolonged inflammation such as sepsis, inflamed diabetic foot ulcers and allergic lung inflammation.
Previous research has shown that having a deficiency in this enzyme has a protective effect against