Japanese researchers have published a report in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine suggesting that the cholesterol lowering drug Pravastatin may be able to help protect patients from the harmful side-effects of radiation treatment. According to the researchers mice with malignant mesothelioma who were given Pravastatin prior to being subjected to radiation experienced less damage to vital organs than mice who did not receive the drug.
Hiroshi Doi, the head researcher of the report stated that, “The pravastatin group showed significantly lower apoptotic indices in all examined parts of the intestine and tended to show reduced apoptosis [cell death] in the lung.” Moreover, the study concluded that use of the cholesterol drug improved the body’s resistance to radiation while at the same time not decreasing the efficacy of the treatment. The authors of the article conclude that Pravastatin may in fact “increase the therapeutic index of radiotherapy.”
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