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NHP Doc Tackles Bad Cholesterol

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.


News

The Village of New Hyde Park finished its Operation Main Street project just in time, because the town’s eligibility for federal funds is shrinking, officials announced last week.

“The qualifications revolve around money,” trustee Donald Barbieri said. “Like how much income is being earned by people in the area. I guess as seniors move on, you can’t buy an [expensive home] and it changed the demographic, shrinking our eligible area.”

The Village of New Hyde Park will soon hear Manhattan businessman Sam Chan’s proposal to open a 84-seat hibachi-style restaurant at 1215 Jericho Tpke. in New Hyde Park, the former spot of the maligned Empire Billiards Hall. The hearing is set for Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m.

“The board will be hearing the case for restaurant usage,” Mayor Robert Lofaro said. “This will also have to go before the zoning board. They will likely hear the case.”


Sports

New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud brightened the day for some patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center last week in New Hyde Park, posing for pictures and handing out gifts and autographs. The players hung out with the kids in the afternoon, playing video games and answering questions.

They also found the time to make the rounds, stopping by bedsides to spread some cheer. Mr. Met also joined the tour and was a big hit with the children, who peppered him with questions about everything from his four-fingered hand to the whereabouts of the missing Mrs. Met.

The Sewanhaka Indians football team has a season of change in store.

The Indians have moved up from Conference III to Conference II, due to an increase in enrollment, and are set to face teams that they have never seen before, according to head coach George Kasimatis.

“It is hard to gauge where we will be in this conference,” he said. “There is a lot of uncertainty as where we fit in.”


Calendar

Library Board Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Welcome Reception

Wednesday, Sept. 3

Herricks School Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com