Cholesterol medication may help reduce healthy cell death in mesothelioma patients

6 Jun 2017 by under Research/Treatment

shutterstock 380260327 edited 100x100 Cholesterol medication may help reduce healthy cell death in mesothelioma patientsA cholesterol-lowering medication may be able to pull double duty to help mesothelioma patients, according to a group of Japanese researchers. The drug, pravastatin, has been shown to reduce damage to healthy cells when given to mice with mesothelioma before treatments.

Pravastatin is designed to lower the levels of low-density lipoprotein, known as “bad” cholesterol, and increase levels of “good” cholesterol, according to Surviving Mesothelioma. It is also used to prevent heart attacks and strokes, as well as reportedly having positive effects on a range of inflammatory conditions. In light of its many therapeutic uses, researchers decided to test its radioprotective effects as well.

They found the group of mice treated with pravastatin 24 hours before radiation treatment and then again four hours before treatment experienced “significantly lower” healthy cell death rates in all parts of the intestine and “reduced” rates in the lung compared to mice who received no pretreatment with pravastatin, according to the researchers. They also found no difference in responsiveness to radiation between the mice that had and had not received the drug.

The researchers from this most recent study concluded, “Pravastatin may increase the therapeutic index of radiotherapy.” Their finding supports other research that also suggests using statin drugs, pravastatin’s drug type, benefits mesothelioma .

Because mesothelioma occurs in irregular shaped tumors on the lining of organs, treating mesothelioma patients with radiation usually damages surrounding tissues in the lung or abdomen, resulting in serious side effects from treatment. Researchers, like those studying pravastatin, are currently searching for ways to reduce the harmful effects.

Pravastatin is marketed under the name Pravachol.


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