Scientists from Purdue University have discovered a new way of using medicines used to treat heart disease in curing cancer.
Professor Ji-Xin Cheng of Purdue’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry Department was working on a new technology that would revolutionize cancer treatment when they came across a pioneering theory that would bring cancer treatment to newer heights, the Purdue Exponent reported.
Together with his postgraduate assistant Junjie Li, the duo discovered that a medicine used to treat heart disease, particularly medicine that prevents clogging of cholesterol in the arteries, can be used in cancer treatment.
After careful laboratory observation of the mechanism of the medicine, Cheng concluded that it can prevent the spread of cancer cells throughout the bloodstream, thereby delaying the deterioration of the cancer patient’s immune system.
“We discovered that the cholesterol metabolism changed inside cancer cells. The metabolizing increased, and (we thought) if we block this metabolizing, we could maybe stop the cancer’s growth and spread. We then looked into cholesterol inhibitors, and we were lucky enough to find that this inhibitor was developed ten years ago to treat heart disease,” Cheng said in a statement.
The medicine, according to the team, reduces the cancer cell count in the patient’s body, thus preventing the proliferation of cancer cells in the body. This, according to Li, means it can delay the growth and spread of cancer cells. Li added that they were able to limit the cells’ ability to store enough cholesterol, hence they are unable to spread.
It was reported that both animal and human tests have shown the same results, which means it can safely be used to human patients undergoing cancer treatment.
Data from the National Cancer Institute shows that an estimated number of 1,685,210 new cases of cancer have been recorded in 2016 across the country. It added that around 595,690 individuals die of cancer each year in the U.S.