Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Anti-malarial treats cancer

"Can a drug that has been used to treat malaria for years possibly be used to treat breast cancer before it becomes invasive? That's what researchers at George Mason University's Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM) and Inova Breast Care Institute (IBCI) are trying to prove." We already know that artemisinin may target and kill cancer cells in breast-cancer patients, but now it appears that chloroquine, a drug commonly administered to treat malaria, may also treat cancer.

In a three-year clinical trial, researchers "will test the effectiveness of the anti-malarial drug chloroquine in treating 90 women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a type of breast cancer in which the cancer cells start in the milk ducts but have not yet become invasive and spread in the breast. Once the cancer cells start to spread in the breast and throughout the body, the condition is considered invasive and can often be fatal."

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women (American Cancer Society). In 2009, 254,650 patients were diagnosed. This treatment will "prevent breast cancer cells from becoming deadly by killing pre-invasive cancer cells". A novel therapy that uses chloroquine, which has been used to treat malaria in the past, may prevent deaths from breast cancer in the near future.

George Mason University (2010, March 2). Trial launched to test new treatment for pre-invasive breast cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2010, from¬ /releases/2010/03/100302123120.htm

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