Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 24 January 2014 00:00
High cholesterol is bad. Elevated bad cholesterol (LDL) is even worse, and one New Hyde Park doctor is working on a study to change that.
Dr. Kenneth Hershon, an endocrinologist at North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital in New Hyde Park, along with a team of doctors across the world, is working on medication that blocks a protein that reduces the liver’s ability to remove LDL. The medication, called a PCSK9 inhibitor, allows liver cells to take more LDL from blood because it blocks the PCSK9 protein. Hershon feels this could “change the game.”
The average LDL cholesterol should be about 70 for people at risk for heart disease. A healthy person’s LDL level is near 100.
The interest in creating better LDL medication started after a 32-year-old, Dallas, TX female aerobics instructor was found to have an LDL level of 14. This occurred because of a gene mutation that was passed down to her from her father.
According to Hershon, this sparked pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, Sanofi and Amgen (the company that’s funding the study Hershon is working on) to fast track medication research to treat high levels of LDL. Scientists are hoping that the Texas woman's genetic makeup can help them foster a remedy.
“What they found [with the woman] was that this person was homozygous, which uprated the LDL receptors in the liver, which lets her break down the cholesterol,” he said.
Amgen is conducting The Fourier Study, which is working find a different approach to reducing LDL cholesterol. The study examines people between 40 and 85 years of age who have a history of heart attack, stroke or peripheral arterial disease.
The test will analyze 22,500 people across the globe who are considered high-risk patients. The study will chronicle patients that are on a cholesterol inhibitor. If their LDL levels are above 70, they’d be put into a Fourier trial.
“We want to know if lowering LDL with this medication will have an effect on longterm outcomes,” said Hershon. “If it does, then it’s worthwhile. If it doesn’t, then it’s cosmetic. It’s ethical because...if you’re not at goal, [in this trial] you’ll potentially stay where you are right now or lower your levels and benefit you," he said.
The study is in phase three, which is the final study phase before a company seeks approval to market a drug from the FDA. The PCSK9 being studied is called evolocumab, a monoclonal antibody developed by Amgen.
“We’ll study patients who either had a heart attack, stroke or vascular surgery,” said Hershon. “They are at the highest risk to have another event.”
High cholesterol levels are considered a risk factor of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and stroke, Hershon said. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 71 million American adults have elevated LDL levels and only one-third of them have the condition under control.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Thursday, 23 October 2014 00:00
At the Oct. 17 meeting of the Herricks Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Bierwirth discussed the recent investigation of students who have been illegally attending school in the Herricks School District, despite living in outer areas. Bierwirth said that 14 prospective cases were investigated and eight students were forced to leave the district.
Board of Education President James Gounaris said weeding out students who are attending school in Herricks under false pretenses is boiled down to one fact: it takes away valuable resources from the children of tax-paying members of the community.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Wednesday, 22 October 2014 00:00
Local school districts are reaffirming student hygiene standards in the wake of the non-polio enterovirus (EV- D68) that’s been found in the United States. A strain of the enterovirus was found in Southampton’s middle and high schools, but officials say it was not the virus that has caused the national EV-D68 outbreak.
The disease disproportionately affects infants, children and adolescents who lack immunity, according to the Center for Disease Control. School districts have been notified to follow New York State Health Department guidelines to combat possible infections.
Thursday, 23 October 2014 00:00
The Sewanhaka Indians varsity football team hosted Elmont Spartans on Saturday, Oct. 18 in its final home game of the regular season.
It certainly did not go as the Indians had hoped, falling 18-8, in a mistake filled game. Head coach George Kasimatis said the Indians had their chances, but kept digging themselves into a hole with mental mistakes on both sides of the ball.
Playing from behind, senior running back Brenton Mighty was able to break free for a long touchdown run, to put the Indians on the board.
Thursday, 16 October 2014 00:00
Sewanhaka Indians Head football coach George Kasimatis told his team to expect a dogfight in this weeks game against the New Hyde Park Gladiators, and he was right after its 35-21 victory last week.
“All the kids know each other really well, it’s always competitive when we play each other,” he said.