It was originally considered to treat breast cancer and diabetes, but a drug called Trodusquemine also seems to be extremely successful at clearing out fat in arteries.
That’s according to a study from researchers at the University of Aberdeen, which found that the drug “melts away” fatty materials that can lead to strokes and heart attacks after forming in arteries.
Researchers conducted the study on mice with “set-in atherosclerosis.”
Atherosclerosis, says the American Heart Association, is a disease involving the buildup of fat in arteries. It can potentially cause coronary heart disease, chest pain and chronic kidney disease.
Some mice were given just one dose of Trodusquemine, while others were given multiple treatments of it, according to the University of Aberdeen.
Either way, both groups of mice had less fat in their arteries, researchers found.
These findings were surprising to Dr. Dawn Thompson and Professor Mirela Delibegovic, who said the drug could prove helpful to those who are more susceptible to developing atherosclerosis.
“It is a big problem for people who are overweight or have underlying cardiovascular conditions,” Thompson and Delibegovic, who led the study, said, according to the University of Aberdeen. “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.”
That’s good news for those over 50, which the American Heart Association says is when atherosclerosis can become dangerous.
Trodusquemine seems to “completely reverse” the disease by stopping PTP1B — an enzyme that is often more pronounced in people struggling with obesity or diabetes, among other conditions — as well as activating a protein called AMPK that “mimics exercise,” researchers wrote.
Around 610,000 people a year die from heart disease in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making up around 25 percent of all deaths in the U.S. And on top of that, each year 735,000 Americans will experience a heart attack, the CDC says.
Now, Delibegovic and Thompson said, it’s time for further tests on Trodusquemine to determine just how effective it can be.
“The next step is to test the ability of this drug to improve outcomes in human patients with developed atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.”