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New drug fizzles at raising HDL

Updated: March 01, 2007

New drug fizzles at raising HDL

Tried-and-true strategies are still excellent ways to boost good cholesterol.

When pharmaceutical giant Pfizer pulled the plug on torcetrapib, its experimental HDL-raising drug, media reports made it sound like we were losing our last, best ally in the battle against heart disease. The decision was unquestionably a huge setback for Pfizer, which had sunk $800 million into developing torcetrapib. And it was a big bump in the road for researchers hoping that high-density lipoprotein (HDL, the so-called good cholesterol) would be the next big thing in cholesterol-targeted drug therapy. But it shouldn't be taken as a sign that raising HDL is a bad or dangerous strategy for preventing heart disease and stroke — just that torcetrapib isn't the way to do it.

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