Torcetrapib is designed to increase levels of 'good' HDL cholesterol, and was supposed to be a novel way of preventing heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.
But a trial of the drug last year was stopped prematurely when it was discovered it was actually causing heart disease.
Now ultrasound studies have found that the drug doesn't help prevent coronary atherosclerosis, either.
Nobody is quite sure why the theory is failing in practice. Perhaps, some conjecture, the drug is producing some weird variety of HDL cholesterol that is malfunctioning.
(Source: New England Journal of Medicine, 2007 doi:10.1056/NEJMoa070635).
E-news broadcast 20 April 2007 No.352 [Subscribe]