Gateshead, United Kingdom (PressExposure) September 05, 2009 -- First results from trials with a unique new heart disease prevention treatment have triggered an unprecedented clamour of excitement among international specialists anxious to test its benefits on their own patients.
Teams of doctors at Cambridge University in England and Harvard medical school in America, have already embarked on major projects to investigate the properties of the treatment called Ateronon, and further large scale trials involving up to 10,000 patients, are to begin under the leadership of heart failure specialists in Catania, Italy, later this year.
Meanwhile, senior cardiologists in Finland, which has the worldâs highest rate of heart disease, are in the process of getting approval for a study in Helsinki, and other groups at universities in Sweden and North America are also designing further projects to investigate the effects of the compound in different ethnic groups.
Ateronon, a one capsule a day formulation is being launched to over 25,000 mainstream European heart specialists during the 5 day European Society of Cardiology congress in Barcelona which starts on 29th August.
Ateronon is believed to be the worldâs first compound to provide the natural heart-protecting antioxidant properties of the so-called Mediterranean diet, in a form which can be reliably absorbed by the human body and will be of particular interest to delegates as the conference mission is â âto reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in Europeâ.
The independent doctors who have embarked on the Ateronon studies, hope that their work will highlight the flaws in a variety of extensive and costly vitamin and dietary supplement trials for heart disease, all of which have produced negative results.
They believe that the combination of compounds distilled and combined in Ateronon will provide the breakthrough that scientists have been looking for, by providing a formulation free from side-effects, which can not only ward off but reverse, the atherosclerotic effects of Western diet and lifestyle.
The principal ingredient of Ateronon is lycopene, derived from tomatoes which are known to be a significant dietary factor in promoting cardiovascular health. Until now, it has been impossible to convert large lycopene crystals into smaller molecules more easily absorbed by humans.
Aterononâs unique formulation involves combining lycopene with a lactose-based milk protein, thus reducing the size of lycopene molecules and radically improving their bioavailabilty.
Lycopene is well-known as a powerful antioxidant â that is, a substance which blocks the breakdown of fats in the blood which leads to the release of cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins, which form fatty deposits on artery walls and block the passage of blood.
âWe know the Mediterranean diet is beneficial in terms of lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and the key element is tomatoes,â said Ian Wilkinson, a British Heart Foundation-funded senior lecturer in clinical pharmacology at Cambridge University. âWe are hoping to build on that evidence and show that getting the whole food into people in higher concentrations might be more effective than just trying to give people one type of vitamin, or one type of dietary supplement.â
Wilkinson, whose team is carrying out a year-long double blind study of Ateronon in 60 patients with heart disease, is hoping that it will produce reduced rates of inflammation within blood vessels and better blood flow in the aorta, the bodyâs main highway for oxygenated blood.
Both of these functions can be readily measured, meaning evidence of the benefits of Ateronon will be readily available to researchers.
Howard Sesso, assistant professor of medicine at the Brigham and Womenâs Hospital, which is part of Harvard university in Boston, is leading a year-long research project involving 200 heart disease patients. Like Wilkinsonâs trial, it will be double blind, meaning half of he patients will be given a dummy placebo pill for half of the trial period to ensure any identified Ateronon benefit can genuinely be attributed to the treatment itself. âThe early trials so far do seem to show that Ateronon has a lipid-lowering effect,â Sesso said. Obviously, we donât have our own research evidence yet, but we are optimistic about what we might find.â
Michele Gulizia, the cardiologist leading the Italian team, said that while the statin drugs already taken by millions of heart disease patients, simply lower cholesterol levels, Ateronon stops oxidation of cholesterol altogether. âThat means Ateronon stops the atherosclerotic process that we know is the basis for developing major cardiovascular events like stroke and heart attack,â he said. âMany people just do not get a good enough diet, but taking one of these capsules a day will hopefully protect them.
"As a cardiologist I and other surgeons are always looking for ways of prolonging our patients lives and improving the quality of those extra years, this is the reason I would personally recommend taking Ateronon."
Studies of Ateronon in 150 people with pre-existing heart disease have already been carried out by Cambridge Theranostics Limited (CTL), the developers of the compound. CTL, which is a bio-technology spin-off company of Cambridge university, have shown the treatment can not only halt, but actually reverse the build-up of fatty deposits on artery walls, within as little as eight weeks.
âWe are confident that Ateronon will show quite dramatic benefits in patients with heart and circulatory disorders, and provide a useful adjunct to statins,â said Dr Gunter Schmidt, the chief executive of CTL.
The formulation is a refinement of a technology originally developed by the food multinational Nestle. Because it is based entirely on naturally-occurring food substances, it does not have to satisfy the demands of drug safety trials, and can be offered immediately to patients. Many cardiologists, family doctors and pharmacists in Britain and the USA are already offering the treatment to patients.
Meanwhile, many thousands of educated internet users who are part of the growing self-care wave, have already found their way to the Ateronon website and are buying the capsules directly themselves. Because the beneficial effects of the treatment can be readily measured in terms of improved blood pressure and vascular health, Schmidt said the consumers do not have to rely on an act of faith for the benefits of the treatment. Within just three months of use, they can see the tangible improvements by undergoing a few simple tests at a doctorâs office.