Cholesterol drug fights cancer - study
An experimental drug designed to lower cholesterol may turn out to be an effective weapon against prostate cancer, research has shown.
Tumour cells need cholesterol to construct their cell membranes. By cutting their cholesterol production, the new molecule, known as RO 48-8071, causes the cells to fall apart and die.
It could also have the added benefit of preventing prostate cancer developing resistance to hormone therapies.
Professor Salman Hyder, from the University of Missouri in the US, said: "Cholesterol is a molecule found in animal cells that serves as a structural component of cell membranes.
"When tumour cells grow, they synthesise more cholesterol.
"Often, cancer patients are treated with toxic chemotherapies; however, in our study, we focused on reducing the production of cholesterol in cancer cells, which could kill cancer cells and reduce the need for toxic chemotherapy."