A PRODUCT derived from starch and widely used in pharmaceuticals may hold the key to overcoming Australia’s number one killer, Heart Disease.
The product, β-cyclodextrin, used to make substances stable and soluble, has been shown to remove cholesterol, or plaque, from blocked arteries.
The discovery has been made by a businessman who has undergone procedures to overcome the condition, known as atherosclerosis.
Kyle Hodgetts, a pioneer of digital arcade games in the 1990s, learned that research in Germany had shown β-cyclodextrin significantly reduced plaque build-up in mice and decided to trial it himself.
“In 2016, the scientists, led by Eicke Latz and Sebastian Zimmer from Germany's Bonn University, published a paper titled Cyclodextrin promotes atherosclerosis regression via macrophage reprogramming,” Mr Hodgetts said.
“Their research had shown that 2-hydroxypropyl-βcyclodextrin (HP-β-CD) reduced atherosclerosis build-up in mice.
“They tested HP-β-CD on human plaque and found the same result, but couldn’t obtain funding to undertake human trials.
Regular infusions of β-cyclodextrin significantly reduced arterial plague and he suffered no toxic effects.
“After finding HP-β-CD improved my condition and that I suffered no adverse effects, I provided the scientists with my results.
“The German team has since informed me that it has now obtained funding to trial HP-β-CD on 100 patients with cardiovascular disease.”
Mr Hodgetts late last year formed the company Cholrem which developed its own version of HP-β-CD, Cholrem®, and opened an infusion clinic in Melbourne.
“Our first patient had an angiogram prior to treatment and another after treatment which showed that plaque was significantly reduced.”
He plans to work with health-industry operators to introduce the treatment to infusion clinics across Australia.
Mr Hodgetts said cholesterol plaque forms with age and that the level of build-up depends on lifestyle and genetics.
“Detrimental effects can range from restricting eye blood-vessels to major blockages in heart and arteries causing heart attacks.
“HP-β-CD not only reduces plaque in persons with advanced cardiovascular disease, we have also noted improvement in vision and kidney function.”
He said Cholrem® can be administered intravenously, via a one-hour infusion, or through an enema.
“On entering the bloodstream, it binds to and removes cholesterol from artery walls. It leaves the body via the urinary tract, generally within six hours.”
He said treatments can range from twice a week to once in six months, subject to need.
“Our studies have shown that Cholrem® can reduce plaque substantially in just four weeks and is well tolerated at high doses in a patient with advanced cardiovascular disease.
“While it can take several years for the benefits of Cholrem to be proven through human trials and research, we know Cholrem is safe and that it can reduce plaque.
“We offer access the Cholrem treatment based on the science available and our research. However we cannot not guarantee the benefit from taking Cholrem because the science is too new.
“We advise patients that they must be under the care of a doctor and that Cholrem is not to be taken as a substitute for any medical treatment they may be taking.”