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Here's another reason for people to get busy lowering their cholesterol: It could help defeat brain cancer. A new study in the journal Cancer Discovery says that glioblastoma cells need cholesterol to survive, and starving them of this essential component can destroy them, reports Rebecca Voelker at the [email protected] blog. Considering the role cholesterol plays in making new membranes, the researchers say it's not such a stretch that tumors need it to grow. The team studied glioblastoma cells in animals and tissue samples from human patients, found a mutation in the PI3K gene that triggers increased production of LDL cholesterol (the "bad" kind), which in turn feeds cancer cells, Voelker says. Once the team activated a transcription factor that pumped cholesterol out of the cells, the cells died, she adds. The researchers say that this work may also have implications for other cancers in which this pathway is also activated.

The Scan

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