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Popular Cholesterol Drugs May Fight Mesothelioma

Lipitor and Zocor are two of the most popular medications in the world. They successfully treat high cholesterol levels, effectively protecting patients for whom they’ve been prescribed from the risk of stroke or cardiovascular complications. A recent study conducted in Japan may have uncovered yet another benefit of these effective medications: they may be used to kill mesothelioma cells and prevent them from replicating.

Though the studies that were done were only performed in a test tube and there is much future testing that remains to be done before the actual impact of the discovery will be known, researchers are encouraged by their findings, and published their results in Cancer Letters, a popular medical journal. The test that was described combined Lipitor and Zocor with a form of Vitamin E called gamma tocotrienol. Previous studies had shown that the Vitamin E substance used alone had a significant impact on the cancer cell’s production of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, thus essentially starving the cell, but the addition of the two statin drugs to the gamma tocotrienol actually caused the mesothelioma cells to die.  This combination of drugs that achieves a greater impact is known as a synergistic approach.

Statins have been studied for their impact on cancers in the past. Researchers have shown some success with using them for the inhibition of ovarian and liver cancers, and they have also been combined with gamma tocotrienol in the past and used effectively in the treatment of breast cancer.

Mesothelioma researchers are constantly on the lookout for novel combinations of medications and drugs to use in their fight against the disease, which kills thousands worldwide each year. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral that has been used for centuries because of its strength and fire and heat retardance. It was largely banned in the United States in the 1980s, but many people who were exposed to it through their occupation or environment continue to be diagnosed today, as it can take several decades after exposure for the illness to make itself known.

Though scientists are encouraged by the results of the study, the research that was reported was strictly done in a laboratory, and it may be years before proper dosing and overall safety for humans is determined and it is available for testing on living subjects or patients.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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