Cholesterol-binding proteins called ORPs may control cancer cell growth, according to a report in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The scientists came to their conclusion while trying to understand how cholesterol moves around inside cells in the fat's journey to cell surfaces where it reinforces their outer membrane. Given that uncontrolled cell growth is a key feature of cancer, this means gaining a better understanding of the true purpose of cholesterol-binding within cells could be important in cancer treatment. The scientists draw on two important facts to support their conclusion. First, cancer cells require ORPs to survive. Second, other scientists have previously shown that a new class of natural compounds that look like steroids or cholesterol can kill a broad spectrum of different cancer cells. They will now find out exactly which proteins respond to ORP activation and under what circumstances does cholesterol turn off ORP's activation of them.
Bonnie: Could America's obsession with lowering cholesterol come back to haunt us?