For Immediate Release
Contact: Tom Capezzuto
At UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School
UMDNJ Researchers Testing Cholesterol-Lowering Drug For its Ability
To Prevent Heart Attacks in Those with Protein Linked to Heart Disease
5/26/05—Researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). are
evaluating the effectiveness of a cholesterol-lowering drug for its ability to prevent possible heart
attacks in those who have dangerously high levels of a protein recently linked to heart disease.
Researchers are testing moderate doses of the drug Crestor, a statin used to treat high
cholesterol, to determine if it may reduce the risk of heart attacks in those with normal
cholesterol but high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), said Dr. Norman L. Lasser, a preventive
cardiologist at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School in Newark and principal investigator of
the new study.
The study, called JUPITER (Justification for the Use of statins in Primary prevention: an
Intervention Trial Evaluating Rosuvastatin), is being sponsored by AstraZenica Pharmaceuticals
LP of Wilmington, Del.
"Elevated levels of CRP are manufactured in the liver and cells lining the blood vessels,"
Dr. Lasser explained. "They are typically found in those who smoke, are obese, have high
cholesterol or diabetes. In some instances, it is present even in those who have low levels of
cholesterol. Its levels often rise and remain high in patients who have chronic inflammation
from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or periodontal disease.
"We feel that based on the outcomes of recent studies, the CRP protein plays a pivotal
role in heart disease and we want to track the effects of Crestor on patients 55 years of age or
older," Dr. Lasser said. "We believe this statin may not only reduce cholesterol levels by as
much as 46 percent, but also may slow the progression of atherosclerosis, reducing the risk of
heart attacks and strokes."
In the JUPITER study, researchers at 500 clinical sites, including the UMDNJ-New
Jersey Medical School, will recruit men who are 55 or older and women who are 60 or older. To
qualify for participation in the study, the volunteers should:
- Not have a history of heart disease
- Not have uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Not currently be using a statin or lipid-lowering medication
- Not currently be using immunosuppressant medication
- Not have diabetes mellitus
- Not have a recent history of cancer, except for skin cancer
Potential participants will be screened free of charge by measurement of their cholesterol
and CRP, and, if eligible, will receive a physical, other lab tests and free medications. The
JUPITER study will involve 11 clinical visits over 42 months, noted Dr. Lasser.
Those interested in applying for admission to the JUPITER study should contact Roberta
Silverberg at (973) 972-6107.