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.
"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."