Statin-anti-tumor drug combo’ can kill brain cancer cells dramatically

Brain cancer cells can be killed dramatically by blocking genetic threads in the rich tapestry of cancer-causing biochemical signals with a statin and an experimental anti-tumor drug. Though the pairing of cholesterol-lowering lovastatin and cyclopamine is unlikely, it is found to be able to eventually kill 63 percent of lab-grown medulloblastoma cells, compared to just 20 percent of cells been killed when either agent are used alone. It is by blocking the so-called “hedgehog” pathway, the Cyclopamine works. It is long known for promoting and guiding the growth of cell and organ. With excessive growth being the chief characteristic of cancer, blocking the hedgehog with cyclopamine makes cancer cells more susceptible to lovastatin, the investigators believe. The researchers concludes that the killing of the tumor cells by the new find combo is tantalizing, although the cyclopamine-lovastatin combination has yet to be tested in animals, much less people. These findings by the Hopkins researchers are published in the January issue of the American Journal of Pathology.

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