Inexpensive antifungal drug 'could treat cancer'

21 August 2012

A common antifungal drug called thiabendazole has been found to reduce tumour growth, with scientists predicting it could be used as a chemotherapy for cancer.

Thiabendazole has been used for around 40 years as an antifungal therapy, and up until now has not been used to treat cancer.

Research published in the journal PLOS Biology found that the drug is able to destroy newly established blood vessels, meaning it is a "vascular disrupting agent".

Staving blood vessels of vascular growth is one of the major chemotherapeutic features, because this then starves tumours, which induce new blood vessel formation in order to feed their growth.

In a study using mice, the research team found that thiabendazole cut blood vessel growth in fibrosarcoma tumours by more than a half, and also slowed tumour growth.

Researcher Edward Marcotte said: "This is very exciting to us, because in a way we stumbled into discovering the first human-approved vascular disrupting agent."

Posted by Edward Bartel


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