Could a Genetic Mutation Lower Your Risk of Coronary Artery Disease?
What is impressive about this paper, however, is that the authors, having shown a statistical relationship, went on by experimental means to attempt to demonstrate a causative relationship, something which is not often done. Taking overfed mice, and the said fat monkeys, they injected them with an antibody against the enzyme that is produced by the patients without the mutation but whose production is blocked by patients with it. In other words, they tried to reproduce the biochemical effect of the mutation by other means.
The authors found the antibody did indeed have the effect hoped for. A single injection of the antibody in four of the fat monkeys reduced their triglyceride levels by 60 percent in two days, and the effect lasted for four weeks. The effect was even more dramatic in the fifth fat monkey with a very high level of triglycerides to start with.
It is far too early to claim the study as an important clinical advance. It may yet prove to be a dead end. One little thing that I noticed was the word in which the deaths of the experimental animals were reported. They were euthanized; a few years ago they would have been sacrificed; and before that they would have been killed. What will the next euphemism be?