Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease of the large arteries and the underlying cause of myocardial infarction and stroke. Atherosclerosis is driven by cholesterol accumulation and subsequent inflammation in the vessel wall. Despite the clinical successes of lipid-lowering treatments, atherosclerosis remains one of the major threats to human health worldwide. Over the past 20 years, insights into cardiovascular immunopathology have provided a plethora of new potential therapeutic targets to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and have shifted the therapeutic focus from lipids to inflammation. In 2017, the CANTOS trial demonstrated for the first time the beneficial effects of targeting inflammation to treat cardiovascular disease by showing that IL-1β inhibition can reduce the recurrence rate of cardiovascular events in a large cohort of patients. At the same time, preclinical studies have highlighted nanotechnology approaches that facilitate the specific targeting of innate immune cells, which could potentially generate more effective immunomodulatory treatments to induce disease regression and prevent the recurrence of cardiovascular events. The clinical translation of such nanoimmunotherapies and their application to treat patients with ischaemic heart disease are challenges that lie ahead.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-32
Number of pages12
JournalNature Reviews Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019


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