OCT 16, 2017 12:49 PM PDT

Cholesterol Hijacks Immune Cells, Promotes Breast Cancer

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

Scientists have solved the mystery of the connection between high cholesterol levels and increased rates of breast cancer metastasis, the spreading of a tumor from one location to another. They found that a byproduct of cholesterol metabolism, a molecule called 27HC, is responsible for influencing immune cells like neutrophils and T cells so that they promote the spread of cancer instead of performing their intended function, targeting and eliminating tumor cells.

In a study with mice models with breast cancer tumors fed a diet high in cholesterol, researchers from the University of Illinois confirmed that cholesterol levels impact breast cancer metastasis. Then, they showed that when treated with statins, drugs that can lower the amount of cholesterol in the body, the rate of tumor metastasis decreased. The same effect was seen when they inhibited the enzyme that produces 27HC.

Researchers are hopeful that this discovery will lead to the development of new drug targets against 27HC that can help reduce the metastatic rate of breast cancers.

"We hope to develop small-molecule drugs to inhibit 27HC," explained study leader Erik Nelson. "In the meantime, there are good cholesterol-lowering drugs available on the market: statins. Cancer patients at risk for high cholesterol might want to talk to their doctors about it."
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
MAR 16, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAR 16, 2020
What Would it Take to Visit Alpha Centauri?
Humankind has long pondered upon the ambition of becoming a multiplanetary species. While much of our realistic focus re ...
MAR 20, 2020
Cardiology
MAR 20, 2020
Exercise For Persons With COPD
The thought of starting an exercise program can be daunting, particularly for those who have been diagnosed with chronic ...
MAR 31, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
MAR 31, 2020
Pandemic in Silico: How Maths Modeling Helps Our COVID Fight
The phrase "flattening the curve" is used frequently these days by epidemiologists to describe various measure ...
APR 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
APR 07, 2020
Here's The Reason Why Space is Black
Anyone who can tilt their head up enough to glance at the night sky would be able to tell you that outer space looks bla ...
APR 08, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
APR 08, 2020
The Future of Battery in a Rear View Mirror
Currently electrochemical batteries is the front and center of energy storage, but their production often put a gre ...
MAY 03, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAY 03, 2020
These Contractors Will Develop Lunar Landers for NASA's Artemis Mission
NASA seems to be moving quickly to get the ball rolling for its lunar-centric initiative dubbed Artemis. The program aim ...
Loading Comments...