Thursday 10 July 2014

ReDO - Repurposing Drugs in Oncology

A theme that I have covered here many times is the potential use of common non-cancer drugs as parts of anticancer drug protocols. Examples that I have covered have included the anti-hypertension (high blood pressure) drug losartan, the anti-fungal itraconazole and the anti-parasitic mebendazole. For the last few months I have been working on a project called Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO), looking precisely at how we can make more progress in getting these common and low-cost drugs into use clinically against cancer.

I’m happy to report that the first two papers from the ReDO project have been published today, in the open access journal ecancermedicalscience, along with an editorial making the argument for repurposing. The first paper describes the rationale of the project and outlines our thinking in the selection of the candidate drugs, what we hope to achieve in the project and some of the social and political implications involved:

The Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO) Project

The second paper looks in detail at the first drug on our list – mebendazole. It summarises the evidence for an anti-cancer action of the drug at clinically relevant dosages. Additionally the paper proposes a series of drug combinations for specific types of cancer:

Mebendazole as an anti-cancer agent

The editorial that accompanies the two papers is also online:

Recycling existing drugs for cancer therapy: delivering low cost cancer care

More details on this, including links to some of the clinical trials my colleagues are involved in supporting and links to additional articles, can be found at the project web site:

These papers are just the first, and we hope that in the months to come there will be more publications and a greater intervention in public debates about health policy and drug development in cancer.

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