Five years ago, scientists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine were surprised to find the drug orlistat (Xenical or Alli) could kill cancer cells. Now, they report on how it works. The drug binds and interacts with a protein found in tumor cells, blocking its function and causing the cells to die.
Researches point out that Orlistat alone can not treat cancer, as it can act only in the digestive tract in humans. However, a greater understanding of how Orlistat functions with cancer cells may help in the development of a drug like orlistat that can go through the bloodstream to the site of the tumor.