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A new drug originally designed for tackling cancer and diabetes has been found to melt away fat that clogs up arteries instead.
Researchers from the University of Aberdeen say that just one dose of Trodusquemine can completely reverse the effects of Atherosclerosis, or the buildup of fatty plaque inside arteries. Atherosclerosis is commonly linked to heart attacks, strokes, and other heart problems. Over time, this fatty material in your arteries can grow so large that blood is unable to pass through.
The researchers also found that the drug stimulates the action of another protein (AMPK), which mimics exercise and decreases chronic inflammation in the body.
The drug works by stopping an enzyme called PTP1B. The enzyme is usually linked to people with weight issues, diabetes, or conditions involving prolonged inflammation such as sepsis, inflamed diabetic foot ulcers, and allergic lung inflammation, Medical Xpress reports.
All humans have some amount of healthy fat in their arteries which develops with age, according to Mirela Delibegovic, a professor at the Aberdeen, who is part of the group leading the study.
Her team has been testing the drug on mice and found that after a single dose or regular treatment, the rodents had less fatty plaque in their arteries. The team has yet to conduct human trials, but hopes to start them soon.
"These have only been tested at preclinical level, in mice, so far but the results were quite impressive and showed that just a single dose of this drug seemed to completely reverse the effects of atherosclerosis," Delibegovic told CNBC.
The drug is already undergoing other trials to see if it could help other diseases such as breast cancer and diabetes.