More evidence beta blockers help stop cancer spreading

7 February 2013

Researchers in the US have improved their understanding of how beta blockers can stop cancers from spreading.

The team at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas found that beta blockers, commonly used to treat conditions like heart disease and glaucoma, could inhibit signals sent to a key cancer protein called Src.

The findings build on previous research suggesting the drugs might have an important role to play in cancer treatment.

Other studies have found lower rates of death from various cancers among people who take beta blockers for long periods for other conditions.

Professor Anil Sood, who led the study, described the study findings as a "major step forward" in understanding how beta blockers can stop the spread of cancer.

"It opens the door to study drugs that could inhibit this unique signalling pathway," he said.

Beta blockers are used to treat conditions by decreasing heart activity. The drugs help block the release of the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline in certain parts of the body.

The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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