Leukemia initiates in bone marrow, where blood cells are formed, causing accumulation of abnormal white blood cells. The most common type of blood cancer is Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). Venetoclax is the drug federally approved which is used to treat blood cancers.
Venetoclax activates particular pathways that regulate cell death, hence promoting cancer cell death in CLL. The drug is a better alternative than chemotherapy. However, a recent study, appearing in Science Translational Medicine, reveals that cholesterol-lowering drug, Statin, shows anti-cancer functions against multiple forms of cancer.
Statin puts a stop to a specific pathway that reduces cholesterol production in the body, however, this blockage also leads to lowering the production of proteins that promote cancer growth. Researchers from the University of California have now conducted an experiment on combining the two drugs, Venetoclax and Statin, to see if it can better the treatment of blood cancer.
The combination of Venetoclax and Statin was tested in a cancer cell culture. It was found that this combo can better kill cancer cells than either of them alone. Similar results were observed in a preclinical animal model of lymphoma. Further conducted experiments confirmed which pathways were altered that led to enhance the anti-cancer effect of Venetoclax.
Past clinical studies reveal that intake of Statin alongside Venetoclax triggered more response in CLL patients. The findings, therefore, are more supported. The data further shows that Statins can alter the biology of CLL cells in such a way that they are more susceptible to Venetoclax effect. Presence of this clinical data proffers a profound ground upon which further studies will be conducted to better the treatment of blood cancers.