2016 Funding Round - Project

Professor Peter Shepherd
University of Auckland
Potentiation of targeted cancer therapies by statins
$1,174,005
36 months

Lay summary

Statins are drugs that are widely used to reduce circulating cholesterol levels to prevent heart disease. Epidemiological evidence also indicates they may have protective effects against some cancers. In laboratory studies in human melanoma cells we have found these drugs effectively kill melanoma cells and they do this more effectively than they do other cancer cells. In addition, we find that the statins also make other cancer drugs work more effectively in melanoma. Therefore, in this study we seek to understand how statins achieve these remarkable effects. We will also perform studies to determine whether the effects we see in isolated cells can also be replicated in animals and whether the statins can be used to improve the efficacy of other targeted therapies for melanoma. Overall we believe this offers the possibility of more effective cancer treatments for very little cost.

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