Thursday 19 July 2012

An Anti-Cancer Polypill

The big health news story of the day is on the report that adoption of the 'polypill' - the proposed pill that combines a statin with three common blood pressure drugs. According to the authors of the study, rolling this polypill out to all over 50s will save tens of thousands of lives (I've seen different numbers in different reports, but they all agree it's a significant fugure). The rationale of the pill is that by taking these relatively cheap and non-toxic drugs lives will be saved by reducing the number of heart attacks and strokes. However, the effect should, in theory, extend to lives saved by preventing cancer. There's pre-clinical evidence that at least two of the drugs - simvastatin and losartan - have cancer prevention properties.

The idea of a polypill is one that I'll be exploring later in the year when it comes to cancer, and specifically for Li Fraumeni Syndrome and other hereditary cancer syndromes. An anti-cancer polypill would take simvastatin and losartan - one half of the current polypill - and add two additional drugs - aspirin and metformin. I believe that such an anti-cancer polypill has huge potential, both for the over 50s and also for people at high risk of cancer, including those who've been treated for the disease and are in remission.

As I said, this is an area that I'll be exploring in more detail in the future, so watch this space...

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