Scientists say creating an anti-heart disease vaccine could be possible

Researchers claim to have singled out the type of naturally-occurring immune cells which contribute to coronary artery disease.

Most treatments for heart disease and coronary artery disease (CAD) focus on managing high cholesterol, a condition for which individuals could buy Lipitor from Canadian and international pharmacies. However, scientists from the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology claim to have singled out the type of naturally-occurring immune cells which also contribute to CAD, but have not previously been identified.

To compile the report, published on August 13, 2012 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, scientists monitored immune cells in normal laboratory mice and mice afflicted with a condition characterized by fatty plaque substances thickening the walls of their arteries. Potentially heart-attack-inducing levels of inter-artery plaque was formed when certain inflammatory cells combined with fat and cholesterol.

"Essentially, we're saying that there appears to be a strong autoimmune component in heart disease. Consequently, we could explore creating a 'tolerogenic' vaccine, such as those now being explored in diabetes, which could induce tolerance by the body of this self-protein to stop the inflammatory attack," said lead researcher Klaus Ley.

Ley expressed much excitement over the possibility of creating such an injection, but noted that the process for engineering this treatment could take many years. Should it come into existence, Ley said that this injection may be used alongside statins to lessen instances of fatal heart disease, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites as the cause of the most annual deaths in America. The organization also notes that the chances of developing heart disease can be reduced by healthy lifestyle choices, such as a balanced diet, exercise and not smoking.

In addition, the National Center for Biotechnology Information says that the chances of suffering from heart disease rise with age. Older men are at higher risk for heart disease than women who haven't gone through menopause, and genetic factors can also contribute.