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Drugs For Controlling High Cholesterol Could Treat Prostate Cancer

Update Date: Apr 18, 2016 05:04 AM EDT

Drugs taken to control excessive cholesterol in the body could help fight prostate cancer, says a recent research. Cutting down the production of cholesterol is observed to cause a chemical reaction leading to the death of cancer cells.

Prostate cancer is one of the predominant cancers found in men which accounts for more fatalities. Just like other types of cancer there is no cure found for prostate cancer by far and the recent findings linking cholesterol drugs and prostate cancer gives new hope towards the treatment of the fatal disease.

Chemotherapy is the treatment of choice for the debilitating disease seen in men and in most cases the drugs of high dosage are more of a pain than gain. If cholesterol drugs could help fight cancer with little to no side effects unlike hormone therapies it is undoubtedly a breakthrough discovery in the intervention of prostate cancer.

Cholesterol is needed for tumor cells to construct their cell membranes. When the cholesterol available to the cells is cut down, a chemical compound known as RO 48-8071 causes the cancer cells to die. As a result of the chemical reaction that happened due to lack of cholesterol, the cancerous cells were observed to "fall apart and die," according to Daily Mail.

"Cholesterol is a molecule found in animal cells that serve as a structural component of cell membranes. When tumour cells grow, they synthesise more cholesterol," said Professor Salman Hyder, from the University of Missouri in the US.

"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," he added.

A group of researchers led by Hyder exposed prostate cancer cells to the drug developed by Roche, which is specific for treating high cholesterol in human. The tumor was found to have died after being exposed to the drug.

When the investigators again tested the drug on mice that had human prostate cancer the tumor was found to have shrunk. The drug was found more effective in prostate cancer that has developed resistance to testosterone hormonal therapy.

"Cholesterol ... can contribute to the development of anti-hormone resistance because cholesterol is converted into hormones in tumor cells," said Hyder, reported SBS. "Therefore, these cholesterol-forming pathways are attractive therapeutic targets for the treatment of prostate cancer."

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