A vaccine for heart disease? New discovery points up this possibility

Most people probably know that heart disease remains the nation's No. 1 killer. But what many may be surprised to learn is that cholesterol has a major accomplice in causing dangerous arterial plaque buildup that can trigger a heart attack. The culprit? Inflammatory cells produced by the immune system.

A number of research studies have demonstrated inflammation's role in fueling , also known as atherosclerosis, which is the underlying cause of most heart attacks and strokes, but knowledge of which immune cells are key to this process has been limited – until now.

Researchers at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology have identified the specific type of immune cells (CD4 T cells) that orchestrate the inflammatory attack on the artery wall. Further, the researchers discovered that these immune cells behave as if they have previously seen the antigen that causes them to launch the attack. "The thing that excites me most about this finding is that these immune cells appear to have 'memory' of the molecule brought forth by the antigen-presenting cells," said Klaus Ley, M.D., a renowned expert in vascular immunology, who led the study in mouse models. "Immune memory is the underlying basis of successful vaccines. This means that conceptually it becomes possible to consider the development of a vaccine for ."

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Dr. Ley said he believes the antigen involved is actually a normal protein that the body mistakes as being foreign and therefore launches an immune attack resulting in inflammation in the arteries. "Essentially, we're saying that there appears to be a strong autoimmune component in heart disease," he said, explaining that autoimmune diseases result from the body's mistaken attack on normal cells. "Consequently, we could explore creating a "tolerogenic" vaccine, such as those now being explored in diabetes, which could induce tolerance by the body of this self-protein to stop the inflammatory attack."

The study was published online Monday in the Journal of Clinical Investigation in a paper entitled "Dynamic T cell–APC interactions sustain chronic inflammation in atherosclerosis."

Dr. Ley cautions that creating a vaccine is a complex process that could take years to develop. However it offers exciting potential. "If successful, a tolerogenic vaccine could stop the inflammation component of heart disease," he said. "This could probably be used in conjunction with the statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) that have already taken a significant chunk out of the numbers of people with heart disease. Together, they could deliver a nice one-two punch that could be important in further reducing heart disease."

Dr. Ley said antigen-presenting cells take up infectious organisms, foreign materials and self-proteins (in the case of autoimmune diseases) and "chop them into little pieces called epitopes" and then display the pieces on the surface of the cell. "The T cell comes along, and if it has the correct receptors, it will recognize the epitope pieces and make cytokines (a type of soldier molecule) that attack the material and cause inflammation." Autoimmune diseases include such illnesses as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

In the study, Dr. Ley and his team used live cell imaging techniques to track in normal and artherosclerotic mouse aortas. He said in mice with , there are a large number of antigen-experienced T cells that have already seen certain epitope pieces (from self proteins) that they perceive as foreign. "The T cells talk to the antigen-presenting cells and, in response, make cytokines that launch an attack. This is what makes the in the vessel wall persistent." join fat and cholesterol to form artery-clogging plaque that can eventually block blood flow, leading to a .

"It wasn't previously known that antigen-experienced T cells existed in the vessel wall," said Dr. Ley. "This experiment makes me now believe that it may be possible to build a vaccine for heart disease."

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1 / 5 (6) Aug 14, 2012
"Most people probably know that heart disease remains the nation's No. 1 killer."

Actually, most people don't know this fact.

The fact of the matter is that they are spending money on this so that people can continue to needlessly kill and ensalve animals for nothing more than personal gratification (taste).

The cure to this type of heart disease is to stop behaving as selfish murderers and to stop needlessly consuming products from animals.

Even if they find a way to allow people to prevent heart disease and still consume animal and animal products we will still be looking at all the resources on earth being wasted to produce these products.

2 / 5 (4) Aug 14, 2012
Inflammation is a response by the immune system to irritation of cells. The irritant may be a chemical (allergy), such as the chemical waste products of metabolism by 'foreign' cells such as bacteria or fungi (infection), or the waste products of the activity of the cells of the body's own immune system (auto-immune disorder).
It is critically important to identify the original cause of the inflammation. In those cases resulting from infection, a vaccine is possible and may be more efficatious than post-diagnosis treatments.
The cholesterol-bearing arterial deposits should be examined for clues such as specific antibodies, antitoxins, or foreign matter.
The deposits may be formed as a part of the bodies defense against a more immediate threat than atherosclerosis.
If the antigen involved is actually a normal protein that the body mistakes as being foreign, one would expect a far more widespread reaction comparable to anaphylaxis.
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 14, 2012
Great potential. Hopefully we continue to fund this kind of research. More importantly, we need to find a way to accelerate safety testing for therapies. Our current multi-year approval process is expensive and slow. We need to find a way to demonstrate safety and efficacy and still get drugs and devices and therapies to market quickly.
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 14, 2012

"atherosclerosis, which is the underlying cause of most heart attacks and strokes"

The underlying cause of the atherosclerosis is eating animal products.

"said Klaus Ley, M.D., a renowned expert in vascular immunology"

More of an expert in deception than human health.
1 / 5 (4) Aug 14, 2012
Go ahead everyone, destroy the world. Support a needless holocaust. Kill your children with disease in body and mind. Make all the excuses you can. We will all sit togther and watch suffering beyond anything we can image and all for needless self gratifaction now. Let's not pretend. It will take everyone to be honest...and that's just not going to happen until there has been enough suffering. Seems there has been alot already, but this won't come close to what is coming... all so we can kill needlessly... Most of us are going to be alive to see and live what is coming... horrible pain as justice for our choice of evil. Truth and Life are our master and every knee will bow before this is over.
2.3 / 5 (6) Aug 14, 2012
"The underlying cause of the atherosclerosis is eating animal products."


2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 14, 2012
Cholesterol is caused by external factors such as diet and internal factor such as genetics. Vegetarians can have high cholesterol, I happen to know a few who are close friends and I laugh at them for the irony as I happily eat steaks and have normal levels. Their genetics predefine them to have high cholesterol.

Assuming that this is a conspiracy so people can eat more meat is silly.

good troll David -- good troll
1 / 5 (1) Aug 14, 2012
the only proven method of preventing heart disease , or mitigating its developement, is diet and exercise.

i'm all for the future, but the u.s. is broke. Your insurance provider is not going to pay for a new 1000$ per treatment miracle drug. stuff like this, even if it is actually useful one day ( and not just another article about a potential treatement that fails to materialize in order to get more funding and grant money) ---is only going to help the ultra wealthy in the immidiate future. this money being spent now on research is better spent on encouraging healthy diet an exercise, perhaps by lobbying congress to restrict the usage of food stamps for ,---soda, prepared foods, candy,
and to cut off subsidies for corn syrup. and to cut off subisidies for oil so that gas gets more expensive, forcing people to walk more.

walking more saves lives.
3 / 5 (2) Aug 14, 2012
Jeddy, if you watch the videos in the links posted you would realize what you are saying are outright lies.

Those are fantastic excuses and comments. Ones like that are only made when a debate is lost. Kill us all, go ahead. At least you got to behave as troll on the internet in your lifetime.

You're comments are not only lies, but opinion. Mine however, are based on fact.

It's not the candy or soda, it's the dead animals and their byproducts
1 / 5 (1) Aug 14, 2012
You're comments are not only lies, but opinion. Mine however, are based on fact.
Nothing factual in your posts. Of course saturated fat, in particular red meat, has detrimental as well as beneficial results. Burning protein is very destructive to the metabolism, but the destructive effective effects of grains and sugars are probably more poignant. Witness the fact that man has consumed meat for all his time, whereas cultivating cereals and sugars began only 30,000 years ago. When farming began there was a massive die-off of the population, reducing average lifespans to about 24 years.

According to the article, inflammation brought about by allergic responses in heart disease and diabetes are the destructive factor. I suggest more chicken and fish and banning grains, at least for myself. US chicken has arsenic added to make it pinker so buyer beware.
5 / 5 (4) Aug 14, 2012
Oh, the end times they is upons us. Klutch yer bowels and poop only when necessary. It is the devil's work.

"Go ahead everyone, destroy the world. Support a needless holocaust. Kill your children with disease in body and mind." - DavidW
1 / 5 (2) Aug 14, 2012
Oh, the end times they is upons us. Klutch yer bowels and poop only when necessary. It is the devil's work.

"Go ahead everyone, destroy the world. Support a needless holocaust. Kill your children with disease in body and mind." - DavidW

I really don't know what to think about that first part, but thanks for quoting me. There is an error in it I would like to correct if you don't mind... corrected as such:

"Go ahead everyone, destroy the world. Support a needless holocaust. Kill our children with disease in body and mind."

Given the previous comments above the quote above is sarcasm. I don't want people to do this at all. What I believe is that in the bigger picture everything will be okay from a perspective of what people would call a god. My belief is that if the biggest picture is a plan from a just god that thing will be good in certain context, and then it indeed is relevant and undisputable now. People need to hear the truth. Some will make it through.
1 / 5 (2) Aug 14, 2012
thing should be things

Look at this article just posted here about a new treatment for addiction:
In this context the drugs are the known problem and science is used to stop the need.

Thats not what is being displayed here in this one. There is a deception taking place to the general public by disregarding the now known source of the problem, the honest preventions, and the honest best known therapy for healing and cure. Where is truthful science here? This issue over eating animals is just one of many, many terrible problems and only the truth in them all is the answer, but then we still have to do it and everyone must be on board or it wont work. You do the math.

The truth can always be found in compassion, as compassion is truth manifest. It's rock solid. Funny how things work out that way. We have a lot of work to do on ourselves.
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 15, 2012
Switch to Soylent Green, the healthy choice

Will I like it? I heard it tastes different from person to person...
not rated yet Aug 22, 2012

Will I like it? I heard it tastes different from person to person...

Perhaps, but since I've been informed it counts as useless verbiage you may want to wait till it's been marketed with all appropriate 'humor' disclaimers.