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Cholesterol-lowering drug shrinks enlarged prostates in hamster model
Date:10/21/2010

, MD, PhD, observed that finasteride caused atrophy of the hamster prostate while ezetimibe did not. "These findings provide strong evidence that the cholesterol-lowering drug inhibits BPH by a novel mechanism," said co-author Michael R. Freeman, PhD, professor of Surgery and director of urologic research at Children's Hospital.

The potentially therapeutic effect of cholesterol-lowering on enlarged prostates was pioneered 40 years earlier by co-author Carl Schaffner, PhD, professor emeritus at Rutgers University, who reported similar results in pre-clinical models using a different cholesterol-lowering drug.

"There is a lot more we want to do in the lab, with regards to studying BPH and the use of cholesterol-based therapies to control disease progression," says Solomon.

For example, the researchers want to test lower doses of ezetimibe and finasteride to examine whether the condition can be reversed with fewer side effects. They also want to assess prophylactic cholesterol lowering to determine if the enlargement can be prevented, and whether genes and proteins mediating the effect of cholesterol on the prostate can be identified. "We really want to be in the position to help conduct a clinical trial to test whether this therapy might have efficacy in human patients," Solomon said.

The study also validated the hamster strain as a good preclinical model for testing novel BPH therapies. "The preclinical models for BPH are few, require substantial manipulation or have an unpredictable disease course," Solomon says. "The Syrian hamster model that we are now using seems particularly good for examining the role of cholesterol in prostate disease, and the testing of novel drug therapies to help alleviate symptoms. We should be able to make substantial progress in developing new treatments and in understanding the molecular mechanisms underpinning the disease using these hamsters."


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Contact: Keri Stedman
keri.stedman@childrens.harvard.edu
617-919-3110
Children's Hospital Boston
Source:Eurekalert

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