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Medical News & Perspectives
April 11, 2007

New Clues to HDL’s Benefits Revealed

JAMA. 2007;297(14):1537. doi:10.1001/jama.297.14.1537

While “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is thought to ward off heart attacks, researchers suspect that there may be both beneficial and dysfunctional types of HDL. This theory was bolstered in December when Pfizer Inc halted a phase 3 clinical trial of torcetrapib, an HDL-boosting agent, after the drug was found to cause an increase in deaths and heart problems in patients.

“HDL is the next big therapeutic frontier [for cardiovascular disease], but the torcetrapib trial is telling us that it may not be enough to just raise HDL cholesterol,” said Jay Heinecke, MD, from the University of Washington in Seattle.