Findings reported Tuesday in the October issue ofArteriosclerosis and Thrombosis indicate that a novelbispecific antibody developed by Medarex Inc., shown to behelpful in removing low-density lipoproteins (LDL), may leadto potential therapies for the prevention and treatment ofatherosclerosis.

Medarex of Princeton, N.J., said that the studies withbispecific antibodies may create a new role for macrophagesin LDL metabolism, leading to a novel approach to preventingand treating atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

More than 100 million Americans have high levels ofcholesterol, which require dietary and/or pharmaceuticalattention.

The results of in vitro studies showed that bispecificantibodies induced the uptake of LDL by immune cells, knownas macrophages, not normally associated with LDL.

In a novel approach to removing LDL cholesterol, cell surfacereceptors called Fc receptors were able to deliver and uptakeLDL.

To direct LDL to macrophage Fc receptors, researchers usedMedarex's bispecific antibody, which consists of an antibodythat recognizes LDL linked to antibodies and targeted to Fcreceptors.

"We have a patented "trigger" antibody that binds to Fcreceptors in a unique fashion and which is highly efficient intriggering internalization by a macrophage," said DonaldDrakeman, Medarex's president and chief executive officer.

Medarex's long-term strategy for its bispecific antibodies maybe in the cardiovascular area.

"High levels of LDL cholesterol affects huge numbers of people,and we would be pleased to find ways to remove LDL in aharmless fashion," Drakeman said.

-- Michelle Slade Associate Editor

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