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Arthritis pill could hold key to beating heart disease

London, Wed, 14 Mar 2012 ANI

London, March 14 (ANI): Researchers have found that inflammation plays a major role in the development of coronary heart disease.


Two international genetic studies of 300,000 people by Cambridge University and University College London pinpointed a specific protein.


The finding suggests that anti-inflammatory drugs currently used to treat rheumatoid arthritis could also be used to reduce atherosclerosis - the build up of fatty deposits in arteries.


If the treatment proves a success, thousands of lives could be saved each year, with high-risk patients taking the drug as a preventative measure, the Daily Express reported.


One such drug, tocilizumab, is already prescribed to sufferers from rheumatoid arthritis.


Experts have long suspected that inflammation plays a role in heart disease, but until now no clear link has been found.


Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, which co-funded the studies, said: "These studies provide very strong evidence that new medicines which reduce inflammation could be a powerful tool in helping to combat heart disease."


The new research was published online in The Lancet medical journal. (ANI)


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