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Cholesterol drug cure for heart attacks

14th March 2006

A new weapon to combat heart attacks has been unveiled.

The American College of Cardiology yesterday claimed that the cholesterol lowering drug Crestor can help reduce the build up of plaque in arteries of patients with coronary artery disease.

It is believed to be the first time that a statin drug has been able to lower plaque build up.

The research states that a two-year course of the drug, which reduces cholesterol by more than half, helps to lower calcium, fat and other artery deposits by nine per cent, far more than has been achieved previously.

The news will be welcome to the drug's manufacturers, AstraZeneca, who have suffered recently following concerns over the possible side effects of the drug, such as muscle damage.

Steven Nissen, who led the research, told Bloomberg that by reaching very low levels of cholesterol the body can "partially reverse the plaque build up in the coronary arteries,' so eliminating "a substantial amount of the disease that's taken decades to develop."

Cardiovascular disease is the UK's biggest killer, accounting for over 230,000 deaths each year.