Professor Emeritus' 40-year-old Research Revived

Forty years ago, Dr. Carl Schaffner of the Waksman Institute hypothesized that the antifungal candicidin, discovered by colleague Selman Waksman, could prevent the absorption of cholesterol in the gut. This, in turn, might reduce the size of enlarged prostates. Indeed, his early clinical studies showed exactly that--lowered cholesterol levels and reduced prostate size in male dogs.

Although the treatment was authorized in some countries, additional U.S. testing was stalled when the company making the drug was sold. In 2002, a new opportunity emerged. Schering-Plough (now Merck) marketed cholesterol-lowering drug Zetia, which uses the same mechanism of action as candicidin. With this new drug available, the research Dr. Schaffner started forty years ago was renewed at several sites. Current research shows promising results not only in shrinking enlarged prostates but also the potential to slow tumor growth. For complete information, please visit: Vector Blog, Children's Hospital.

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