Brentwood, Tenn. - Lovastatin, a drug used to treat high cholesterol, is part of a new cancer treatment that has halted or eradicated tumors (including melanoma) in more than 80 percent of initial patients, Medical News Today reports.
Brentwood, Tenn. — Lovastatin, a drug used to treat high cholesterol, is part of a new cancer treatment that has halted or eradicated tumors — including melanoma — in more than 80 percent of initial patients, a researchers tells Medical News Today.
Early studies of lovastatin, introduced in 1980, revealed that it kills or impairs cancer cells in laboratory cultures. Subsequent research indicated that humans could not tolerate the levels of lovastatin needed to affect tumors significantly.
According to the Medical News Today report, however, the director of research of NeoPlas Innovation, based here, reports success in treating tumors with the drug.
NeoPlas Innovation’s Stephen Cantrell, M.D., tells Medical News Today that with a precisely timed regimen of low-dose interferon with lovastatin, tumors have begun regressing, sometimes within just a few weeks.
So far, each NeoPlas melanoma patient has experienced results significantly better than those with standard therapy, he says. Eradication of tumors or long-term stability has occurred in most patients, while in others there has been a substantial slowing of progression.
In addition to melanoma, types of cancers that have responded positively to the treatment include pancreatic, colon, renal, mesothelioma and a group of sarcomas, including osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma. The regimen does not appear to have as positive an effect on brain tumors.
According to Medical News Today, the treatment’s most notable side effect is fatigue. Most patients don’t experience side effects commonly affiliated with chemotherapy or radiation, such as nausea, vomiting, hair loss, bone marrow suppression or immune system suppression.