Cardiac doctors experienced their own heartbreak last year when a promising new compound that increases HDL, or good cholesterol, turned out to increase blood pressure and risk of death from heart disease. They had hoped that torcetrapib, made by Pfizer, could be combined with cholesterol-lowering statins to help cut the amount of fatty plaque in arteries by exploiting HDL's ability to vacuum up bad cholesterol. That may still happen, since a new study showed torcetrapib indeed raised HDL levels 60% and slowed the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Now the race is on to figure out how to accomplish this without boosting blood pressure to dangerously high levels.
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