Klaus Ley, a pioneer in vascular immunology, leads the effort, which seeks to reduce plaque buildup in the arteries by targeting inflammation. In his latest finding, published recently in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, Ley used two mouse-borne molecules, identified by Harley Tse of Wayne State University, which he incorporated into testing the vaccine approach. Vaccinated mice had about 40 percent less arterial plaque than mice that didn't receive the vaccine.
“Heart disease remains our nation's No. 1 killer,” says Mitchell Kronenberg, La Jolla Institute president and chief scientific officer. “We are excited by Dr. Ley's studies, which show promise for creating a vaccine that may one day reduce the incidence of this terrible illness.”
If successful, the vaccine could aid in preventing heart disease and stop or reduce disease progression. In addition, the vaccine could target strokes, fueled by plaque buildup in the arteries.
About 600,000 Americans die of heart disease every year, amounting to one in every four U.S. Deaths.