Old Drug Could Be Newest Weapon Against Mesothelioma
A drug that has long been used to address pinworm parasites has shown success in impairing mesothelioma cell growth, report researchers from Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia, who worked with collaborators from the University of Siena, Italy.
The researchers tested pyrvinium pamoate for its potential to impair mesothelioma cell growth and migration and, as a result, note that the repurposing of this drug indeed showed much promise in their studies.
“[We] found that the drug affected the expression of downstream genes in the WNT signaling pathway, which are implicated in mesothelioma aggressiveness and its resistance to conventional therapy,” wrote Dr. Antonio Giordano, lead author of the study.
“The results of this study represent a step forward in the development of new treatments for patients with mesothelioma. Pyrvinium pamoate is able to affect important features of mesothelioma aggressiveness, suggesting that the repurposing of this drug for mesothelioma treatment could represent a new promising therapeutic approach,” added Giordano.
“These are encouraging results, especially considering that drug repositioning, using already approved drugs for new indications, is a promising strategy to identify active molecules for a more rapid and less expensive clinical translation compared to de novo drug development,” says study author Marcella Barbarino of the University of Siena.
Indeed, pyrvinium pamoate was developed in the 1960s specifically for the treatment of pinworm infections. However, within the last ten years, scientists have begun to look at it as a potential cancer drug, with several clinical trials conducted about five years ago involving patients with aggressive forms of breast cancer.
The drug has been tested with other types of cancer as well and has been approved as treatment in other countries.
Happily, using a drug that has already been approved for other uses can often eliminate much of the red tape associated with bringing a new drug into the system.
That means the drug can get to patients much more quickly rather than being bogged down for months – or, more likely, years – by the FDA.