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New Drug Being Tested Helps Lower Cholesterol In Hardest To Treat Patients

DANVILLE (KPIX 5) – Doctors say there's a new drug that shows remarkable success in lowering cholesterol, when nothing else works.

One bay area man swears by it. Scott Radabaugh is a single dad from Danville, with an awfully big heart for Luke, Hannah and Chloe.

"I have three kids, ages 15, 11 and soon to be 9," Radabaugh told KPIX 5.

But unfortunately for Radabaugh, there is a problem with his heart. He had no idea his life was in danger- until he had quadruple bypass surgery.

"I was absolutely stunned. I couldn't believe it," Radabaugh said.

He was born with a genetic condition, called familial hypercholesterolemia. The disorder floods his blood with dangerously high levels of LDL or bad cholesterol, and that can lead to an early heart attack or stroke.

For many, a low fat diet, exercise, even statins, won't do the trick.

"Even on a vegan diet, taking maximum doses of statins, I can only get my LDL cholesterol into the low 100s," Radabaugh said.

Now, a new high-tech wonder drug is on the horizon. It's showing dramatic results in the hardest to treat patients.

"We're seeing in most of the reported studies, 50 to 60 percent lowering of LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol," said Stanford cardiologist Josh Knowles, an expert in the disease and is Radabaugh's doctor.

Knowles said this new class of drugs, called a PCSK9 inhibitor, is a game changer.

"They're a triumph of the modern genetic revolution," Knowles said.

The drug was developed by studying the DNA of patients with the disease, and pinpointing the problem.

While the treatment is expected to cost upwards of $12,000 a year, it may be worth it, compared to the cost of a heart attack.

"Just the immediate care is about $20,000 to $25,000. Lifetime care, maybe several hundred thousands of dollars," Knowles said.

Radabaugh volunteered for a clinical trial. He's not sure if he got the real drug or a placebo, but the decision was a no brainer for a father whose heart beats for more than just himself.

"I have three little ones that I need to be around here for at least another 10 years, until my youngest becomes an adult," Radabaugh said. "I have a goal of doing that."


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