Jay D. Horton, MD, hopes to encourage attendees to start thinking differently about cholesterol and atherosclerosis.
Dr. Horton, this year’s AACE Frontiers in Science Award recipient, will present the plenary lecture “Co-Evolution of Scientific Disciplines and Therapies for Disorders of Lipid Metabolism” at 11:15 am today in Panzacola F/G.
“Atherosclerosis and plasma LDL which causes atherosclerosis should maybe be thought about more as an area under the curve as opposed to having a set level of cholesterol,” he said. “ It takes a number of years to develop atherosclerosis. There is a time component that is very important in the development of atherosclerosis due to exposure to LDL.”
Dr. Horton plans to outline the discovery and development of PCSK9, a protein secreted into the blood that determines plasma cholesterol levels through its action on LDL receptors in liver, and how the discovery and the path that led to uncovering how this protein functions ultimately resulted in two new drugs that are now available to treat hypercholesterolemia.
“Genetics and the facilitation of animal models has led to the rapid development of new drugs for the treatment of hypercholerolemia, essentially in a matter of seven years, which has been very quick compared to most drug development projects,” said Dr. Horton.
Dr. Jay D. Horton is a Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Genetics, Chief of the Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases, and Director of the Center for Human Nutrition who holds the Distinguished Chair in Human Nutrition, the Scott Grundy Director’s Chair, and the Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Chair in Obesity and Diabetes Research at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. In recent work, Dr. Horton has delineated the function of PCSK9, and his lab’s current focus is to determine how transcriptional regulators of fat metabolism contribute to the development of fatty liver in various disease processes such as diabetes, obesity and lipodystrophies.
In addition to the historical perspective of the development of the PCSK9 inhibitors and the science involved, his talk will include information about efficacy of the two PCSK9 inhibitors, alirocumab and evolocumab, which were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in Fall 2015, and which patients may be good candidates for the therapy.
“The new drugs are available for all physicians to prescribe for hypercholesterolemia, specifically in individuals with familial hypercholesterolemia,” said Dr. Horton. “ The power of the genetics has really allowed the rapid development of PCSK9 inhibitors to the clinic.”