Cholesterol-lowering medicines may be effective against cancer

October 27, 2009

Millions of people around the world use medicines based on statins to lower their blood cholesterol, but new research from the University of Gothenburg, published in the prestigious journal PNAS, shows that statins may also be effective in the treatment of cancer.

Statins lower cholesterol by blocking certain enzymes involved in our metabolism. However, they have also been shown to affect other important lipids in the body, such as the lipids that help proteins to attach to the cell membrane (known as lipid modification). Because many of the proteins that are lipid-modified cause cancer, there are now hopes that it will be possible to use statins in the treatment of cancer.

Ideal test subject

It is, however, very difficult to study the side-effects of statins in mammals. As a first step, Marc Pilon, researcher at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Gothenburg, has teamed up with Swedish and international colleagues to carry out studies on the nematode C. elegans. This nematode, which is made up of just a thousand or so cells, does not produce cholesterol and is therefore an ideal test subject.

Can treat diabetes

The Gothenburg researchers' studies show that statins can have a dramatic inhibitory effect on growth and development. As the researchers managed to identify the enzyme involved, they can also explain how the effect arises at molecular level.

"Our results support the idea that statins can be used in more ways than just to lower cholesterol," says Pilon. "Not least that they can prevent the growth of cancer cells caused by lipid-modified proteins, but also that they can be effective in the treatment of diabetes and neurological disorders such as Parkinson's."
-end-
The article Statins Inhibit Protein Lipidation and Induce the Unfolded Protein Response in the Non-Sterol Producing Nematode C. elegans, published in the journal PNAS, is the result of a research partnership between the University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Southern Denmark.

University of Gothenburg

Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.