Familial Hypercholesterolemia: JACC Focus Seminar

Julia Brandts, Kausik K Ray


Journal of the American College of Cardiology

First published: November 2, 2021  DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2021.09.004


Detecting familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) early and “normalizing” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol values are the 2 pillars for effective cardiovascular disease prevention in FH. Combining lipid-lowering therapies targeting synergistic/complementary metabolic pathways makes this feasible, even among severe phenotypes. For LDL receptor-dependent treatments, PCSK9 remains the main target for adjunctive therapy to statins and ezetimibe through a variety of approaches. These include protein inhibition (adnectins), inhibition of translation at mRNA level (antisense oligonucleotides or small interfering RNA), and creation of loss-of-function mutations through base-pair editing. For patients with little LDL receptor function, LDL receptor-independent treatment targeting ANGPTL3 through monoclonal therapies are now available, or in the future, antisense/small interfering RNA-based approaches offer alternative approaches. Finally, first-in-human studies are ongoing, testing adenovirus-mediated gene therapy transducing healthy LDLR DNA in patients with HoFH. Further development of the CRISPR cas technology, which has shown promising results in vivo on introducing PCSK9 loss-of-function mutations, will move a single-dose, curative treatment for FH closer.

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