December, 2017 |
In a new study published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, researchers from the University of Bergen in Norway reveal that a drug commonly used to treat parasites may be used in the fight against prostate and colon cancer.
The group of researchers has been testing hundreds of existing drugs to see what effect they have on cancer cells. Their research shows that a well-known and approved anti-parasite drug, nitazoxanide (NTZ), breaks down the beta-catenin protein, which is found at high levels in prostate and colon cancer cells. The activation of this protein causes cancer cells to proliferate at an extreme rate and allows cancer cells to thrive, making them more resistant to treatment.
NTZ, which is used to treat Giardia, tapeworm and other parasites, attacks beta-catenin proteins to prohibit their growth and decompose the activated proteins. NTZ also appears to stimulate central parts of the immune system, that then attack cancer cells.
The leader of the research study, Professor Karl-Henning Kalland at the Department of Clinical Science at the University of Bergen notes, “We discovered that this specific substance is blocking the signalling pathway in the cancer cells, and makes them stop growing. It is not often that researchers discover a substance that targets specific molecules as precisely as this one.”
He also explains, “The advantage of testing already approved drugs is that we know they work in the human body and have no serious side effects, which means that a future treatment may happen quicker.”
This is very promising news for the thousands of Canadians suffering from prostate and colon cancer and doctors who treat these types of cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that in 2017,
They also estimate that,