Post: Reuters~Sporonox antifungal ~ fighting cancer
Posted by Sharon on 4/14/10
Cheap antifungal drug may fight cancer: study
Mon Apr 12, 6:58 pm ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A common antifungal drug can slow
tumors growing in mice and should be investigated as a
potentially cheap and easy way to fight cancer in people,
researchers reported on Monday.
Although it did not completely wipe out the tumors, the
drug called itraconazole may boost the effects of other
drugs, the researchers reported in the journal Cancer Cell.
Itraconazole is marketed under the brand name Sporanox by
Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutica, mostly
for treating a fungal infection called aspergillus.
The drug affects a so-called cascade of effects through a
molecular pathway called Hedgehog, the researchers reported.
The researchers at Stanford University in California were
looking for potential cancer drugs. They know that the
Hedgehog pathway is involved in the development of cancer,
so they looked for drugs that interfere with it.
"There is a fairly broad range of tumors in which this
molecular cascade, called the Hedgehog pathway, plays an
important role," Stanford's Philip Beachy, who worked on
the study, said in a statement.
"The virtue of screening existing drugs is that you already
have all the information about dosage and toxicity, and you
can move into clinical trials fairly readily."
The researchers looked at 2,400 different drugs in a so-
called library of drugs that had either been tested in
people or already approved by the Food and Drug
Administration, looking at the mechanism of action. The
least toxic one they found was itraconazole.
"Itraconazole has been studied for nearly 25 years, and we
therefore have a good understanding of its safety and
potential side effects," the researchers wrote.
They tested mice and found an oral solution of itraconazole
significantly slowed the growth of tumors injected under
the skin. Untreated mice grew giant tumors during the same
time and were euthanized.
Testing mice this way is far different from the natural
development of cancer in people, but the drug should be
tested in cancer patients, the researchers said.
"It might be possible with two compounds to achieve a more
potent block at even lower drug concentrations," said
Beachy. "If so, it's possible that there is a population of
patients that can be treated relatively soon."
Posts on this thread, including this one