Tom Schirris, Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology, theme Mitochondrial diseases, in collaboration with Paul van der Hoeven (Dept. Valorisation) and RIMLS researchers Frans Russel, Jan Smeitink, and Floris Rutjes, has been awarded a 40.000 euros Take-Off grant from NWO - Applied and Engineering Sciences to explore the development of safer cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Cholesterol-lowering statins are currently the cornerstone of cardiovascular risk-reducing strategies. Statins are used by 100 million people worldwide and are the most prescribed drugs. Although statins are generally well tolerated, myopathies are the most frequent adverse effects, ranging from muscle pain to very rare cases of life-threatening rhabdomyolysis. Tom Schirris and colleagues recently demonstrated that these adverse effects associate with inhibition of the third mitochondrial respiratory complex by statins. This finding allows the development of new and safer cholesterol lowering drugs, for which we have patented proof of concept. The awarded grant money will be used to explore these possibilities and to ultimately build a spin-off company.
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