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Monday, March 14, 2005

Cholesterol Plays Cancer-Prevention Role In Cell

Scientists have discovered that cholesterol has a novel role inside the cell: anchoring a signaling pathway linked to cell division and cancer. This new discovery by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center is published in the March 4 issue of Science.

"Cell signals have to be tightly controlled," says Dr. Richard G.W. Anderson, chairman of cell biology and senior author of the study. "If the signaling machines do not work, which can happen when the cell doesn't have enough cholesterol, the cell gets the wrong information, and disease results."

Though it has earned a bad reputation for its role in heart disease, the fact that cholesterol is essential for the health of cell membranes long has been understood. The cell membrane, which is fluid in nature, contains cholesterol.
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