Cancer Drugs
General Oncology

Cancer treatment in Austria: everyday drug could revolutionize therapy

Cancer treatment in Austria: everyday drug could revolutionize therapy

Scientists have discovered that the everyday drug simvastatin kills tumor cells: this unexpected discovery may improve cancer treatment in Austria.

With more than 200,000 new cases, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Germany.

This problem is typical for all European countries, so the doctors were surprised to learn about the "simple" solution – statins.

This is not the first time that one medicine is effective in several diseases, but this case is really amazing.

Research team led by Martin Hohenegger from the Institute of Pharmacology and Christoph Minichsdorfer from the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Medical University of Vienna now discovered that statins can be a valuable option for treating aggressive skin cancer.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs kill cancer cells

In search of new anticancer medicines, Austrian scientists discovered a positive side effect of a popular medication that many people with high cholesterol take. The drug also has influence on black skin cancer (malignant melanoma).

In the laboratory experiments, simvastatin was able to trigger a kind of self-destruction mode in cancer cells, as the news portal Focus reported. The scientists used the messenger Interleukin-6 in the lab, which had created the perfect conditions for the destruction of malignant cells. Interleukin-6 is produced by the body.

It regulates inflammatory reactions in the body and therefore it is so important in the development of neoplastic diseases.

Statins also have an effect on other cancers

The research team also found that statins could probably fight other types of cancer.

However, they do not yet know exactly how to use simvastatin in cancer treatment regimens.

In his statement, Hohenegger said: "Comparison of different studies have shown that melanoma cells have very different sensitivities to triggering the “suicide program” by statins, and why this is so was not known."

Prevention is better than treatment in any case. According to expert Claus Garbe, the main cause of skin cancer is the "deliberate and avoidable sun exposure in holidays and leisure time". The experts estimate that skin cancer cases will double by 2030. The regular check-up by the dermatologist is immensely important, especially for people with a lot of birthmarks. 

The Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) Vienna

The Comprehensive Cancer Center of Medical University of Vienna has made remarkable progress since it was founded in 2010. It has been reflected in the establishment of more than 20 interdisciplinary tumor boards and clinical units. This center is unique for the country and oriented on the National Cancer Institute (NCI). It quickly became the best place for cancer treatment in Austria. The Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna connects all expert groups of the MedUni Vienna and the AKH Vienna.

In addition to cancer treatment, multiple clinical trials, studies of rare tumor diseases and the training of future oncology specialists are conducted here.

Every year, about 7,500 patients from Austria and abroad receive cancer care in 21 specialized centers of the CCC Vienna.

Moreover, the cost of cancer treatment in Austria is significantly lower compared to the United States and Canada

In addition, after only a few years of its existence, the CCC Vienna provides the state-of-the-art diagnostics and treatment modalities, such as "personalized medicine". Each year, more than 300 patients receive high-tech molecular targeted therapy when standard treatments have been exhausted. This center has a modern laboratory that performs virtually all known molecular genetic tumor tests.

The CCC Vienna is in the forefront of international oncology in terms of number and quality of scientific publications. For the period from 2010 to 2015, a total of 2,661 cancer-related studies were published by MedUni Vienna. These studies cover almost all areas of modern oncology, including the treatment of lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, neuroendocrine tumors, etc.

The medical and tourist infrastructure of the country, along with the unique natural features of the region, provides excellent opportunities for treatment and rehabilitation. Moreover, the cost of cancer treatment in Austria is significantly lower compared to the United States and Canada.

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