Project investigating potential of statins to fight melanoma wins funding

A project investigating whether statins could play a role in fighting melanoma is the recipient of this year’s Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Research Centre’s (ASSC) grant scheme.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute co-lead investigator Associate Professor Jason Lee said the grant would fund research investigating whether statins, a common drug used to lower cholesterol, could potentially play a role in tackling melanoma.

“In this particular study we will explore the anticancer effect of atorvastatin in melanoma that is at high risk of spreading and test its viability as a potential preventative or treatment measure,” he said.

“This grant is an exciting opportunity and will allow us to build on the work already done by epidemiologists over many years that supports the idea of statins having potential cancer-fighting properties.”

The University of Queensland and Princess Alexandra Hospital surgical oncologist and co-lead investigator, Professor Andrew Barbour, said this project builds on Queensland public health data showing statin use is associated with better melanoma survival.

“This project will identify biomarkers indicating which patients are likely to benefit from statin drugs, and may lead to the integration of statin treatment with current treatment for melanoma patients effecting better and more durable outcomes.”

The project will bring together multiple researchers from QIMR Berghofer, UQ, Princess Alexandra Hospital and the Translational Research Institute.

The Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Research Centre (ASSC) is a collaboration of researchers from The University of Queensland and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, and announced the 2018 grant funding round for projects that will have an impact on the prevention, early detection and treatment of skin cancer.

The funding was announced at the fourth annual Alan Cooper Epiderm Lecture, which was hosted by The University of Queensland Dermatology Research Centre on Friday 27 July.

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