Orlando doctor part of drug trial to test cholesterol-lowering injection

Orlando Heart Specialists search for candidates for Duke University Odyssey Trial

By Allison McGinley - News Director

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando Heart Specialists' Doctor Kishore Ranadive sifts through his patients' files each day searching for the perfect candidates for the Odyssey Trial, a drug trial being done in partnership with Duke University.

[WEB EXTRA: Take the Cholesterol Odyssey Quiz]

"If we are able to have a drug that's easier to take, is more effective, safer and [has] fewer side effects I think it will help a lot of those patients," said Ranadive.

Right now, one of the only options for lowering your cholesterol are statins; drugs like Lipitor and Crestor -- which stimulate the breakdown of the artery clogging substance.

"They work quite efficiently, but there are side effects and not everyone tolerates them," explained Ranadive.

This new drug, being given as an injection during the trial, would actually prevent the absorption of bad or LDL cholesterol by blocking PCKS9 receptors in the liver.

It would also help patients who've been trying to lower their number with statins, but just can't seem to get it done.

"It really becomes a challenge when a patient has an LDL of 150, 180, 190 to get below 70 because even the most potent statin has an efficacy of 50 to 60 percent and that's tough," said Ranadive.

That's exciting news to Paul and Dawn French.

Paul turns 40 in just a few weeks and already had a heart scare this winter.

"You just never think it will happen to you. You think it will happen to someone else and when it happens to your spouse it's a different ballgame," said Dawn as she shared her fears over her husband's heart condition.

Ranadive implanted a pacemaker for several months and so far so good for French.

"Hopefully I'll be able to work soon," said French.

But if in the future French was to have another scare, Ranadive is excited there are new therapies on the horizon.

"It's a new odyssey into a space that has not yet been explored. I think this is a very exciting idea," said Ranadive.

The Odyssey Trial is being done across the country in conjunction with Duke University.

To qualify the patient has to have had a heart attack or come very close to having one.

The patient also needs to have an LDL above the goal number of 70 while currently taking statin drugs.

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