Researchers from Verve Therapeutics have used gene editing to turn off in monkeys two genes associated with high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, the New York Times reports. This, it adds, could portend a one-time treatment to some day prevent heart disease.
According to the Times, the firm used a gene-editing approach aimed at PCSK9 and ANGPTL3, which encode proteins that regulate LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, respectively. The approach was tested in 13 monkeys and, so far, appears to lead to a 59 percent decrease in LDL levels and a 64 percent decrease in triglyceride levels, the Times reports. The results were presented during the International Society for Stem Cell Research, which was held virtually this year, it adds.
While the University of Chicago's Michael Davidson tells the Times the approach "could be the cure for heart disease," it notes that the monkeys need to be monitored for side effects and any indications of off-target gene editing, as well as to gauge how long the treatment lasts. It could be years before any trials in humans begin, the Times adds.