Doctors found drug cuts heart attack risk by 25 per cent and halves chances of dying from cancer

Cancer deaths and heart attacks could be cut by new drug

A new drug that could help reduce the risk of heart attacks and cut cancer deaths has been hailed as an “exciting” breakthrough.

Canakinumab, an anti-inflammatory, was used in a trial involving more than 10,000 patients, all of whom have had a heart attack but had not been diagnosed with cancer.

They were treated with the drug, which is given by injection, once every three months and monitored for up to four years.

The findings came after scientists discovered heart attacks often occur in people whose cholesterol is normal and whose main risk is chronic inflammation.

Inflammation, and its effects on the body, has been gaining more widespread attention in recent years with scientists finding increasing evidence to suggest it plays a role in many life-altering conditions such as dementia.

People on the drug also had lower cancer death rates, especially from lung cancer. An anti-tumour effect is an “exciting” possibility, researchers said, but warned further studies needed to be conducted as the experiment was not designed to test the drug’s effect on tumours.

Doctors do not believe the new drug prevents new cancers from developing, but believe it might slow the growth of tumours that have already occurred, based on other research.

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