A new research paper has looked at commonly used drugs that can be repurposed to help fight cancer. One example is the common used indigestion medicine cimetidine, which can help treat colorectal cancer.
Medical professionals already know cimetidine is safe, from various trials and many years of use. Therefore, it can be easily combined with other cancer treatments. Cimetidine reduces digestion by blocking histamine receptors in the gut, which reduces the production of gastric acid. It turns out that the drug can also block histamine receptors in cancer cells, which helps the immune system defend against them.
Cimetidine may have a beneficial effect in treating colorectal cancer, renal cancer and melanoma.
The researchers found that:
Based on the evidence presented, it is proposed that cimetidine would synergise with a range of other drugs, including existing chemotherapeutics, and that further exploration of the potential of cimetidine as an anti-cancer therapeutic is warranted. Furthermore, there is compelling evidence that cimetidine administration during the peri-operative period may provide a survival benefit in some cancers. A number of possible combinations with other drugs are discussed in the supplementary material accompanying this paper.
Reducing Cancer Risk
One of the most common drugs that can be repurposed to help avoid cancer may be aspirin. There is a growing body of research that aspirin can reduce pancreatic cancer risk and improve colorectal cancer prognosis.
Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO)
ReDO is a project that has been looking at ways common drugs may be used to help improve cancer treatments.
It’s primary pbjectives are:
– Identify the most promising drugs for further clinical investigation
– Review and bring to the attention of clinical investigators the data for these drugs
– Document on how these drugs can be combined with existing therapies, or with other repurposed drugs
– Develop clinical trials to provide positive or negative evidence of efficacy
– Where necessary, suggest areas where further pre-clinical work is necessary
By finding commonly used drugs that have a beneficial effect in the fight against cancer, the research group also helps provide low cost treatments and preventatives against cancer.