Juan Gaertner/Science Photo Library
An LDL, or 'bad' cholesterol molecule (round) binds to an LDL receptor protein (pink) in this illustration.

For years, medical researchers have hoped that a burgeoning class of cholesterol drugs targeting a protein called PCSK9 could be the next generation of blockbuster treatments. Now, a large clinical trial has demonstrated that this approach can lower the risk of heart disease. But it’s still unclear whether these drugs — which attempt to mimic a beneficial genetic mutation — will be the breakthrough that scientists and pharmaceutical companies had imagined.
The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine1 and presented at the American College of Cardiology conference in Washington DC on 17 March, show that a drug called evolocumab (Repatha) reduced the risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack and stroke by about 20% in patients who were already taking other cholesterol-controlling drugs called statins./.../