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Cholesterol Roundup

April 12, 2013

Despite its reputation, cholesterol may be useful for treating several medical conditions.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Another side of cholesterol. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

We know cholesterol as that fat that circulates in the blood, one type of which can form a dangerous coating of plaque in our arteries. But cancer researchers are turning to cholesterol to help them reprogram tumor cells. In the journal Therapeutic Delivery, scientists at the University of Colorado Cancer Center describe using microscopic cholesterol rafts to ferry DNA into cancer cells. One inside, the DNA reprograms the tumor cells’ genetics so they stop dividing.

In other cholesterol news, Washington University scientists report in the journal Cell Metabolism that they’re developing cholesterol-reducing eyedrops to treat age related macular degeneration, or AMD. AMD leads to blindness because macrophages—the body’s garbage collecting cells—get clogged up with cholesterol. The eyedrops contain a compound that in laboratory animals helped unclog the cells, and stop progression of the disease. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Cholesterol, despite ts bad rap, is essential to many biological processes. (Sbrools/Wikipedia)