We have had discussions about this exciting new medication. A twice-a-year injection that reduces bad cholesterol to protect the heart is to be pioneered by the NHS in England. Already, millions of people take daily statin pills to cut their cholesterol. But later this year, a “ground-breaking” large-scale clinical trial will offer NHS patients a new form of medicine, gene silencing, in an injection called inclisiran.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the initiative could save 30,000 lives during the next decade. By “silencing” the PCSK9 gene, inclisiran can make the liver absorb more “bad” cholesterol from the blood and break it down.
Trials presented at the European Society of Cardiology last year showed it could cut bad cholesterol levels in half within weeks. Prof Kausik Ray, who led those trials, from Imperial College London, says this gives it “enormous” potential. And the Department of Health and Social Care says it would prevent 55,000 heart attacks and strokes each year for every 300,000 patients treated. NHS patients who have not had a heart attack or stroke but are at high risk of having one will be invited to take part in the latest trial. About 40,000 people might be eligible.
Inclisiran will also be assessed for more routine use next year based on evidence from previous trials. At the moment – because of the way decisions on health are devolved within the UK – the announcement applies only in England.