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Existing Anti-Fungal Drug May Treat Cancer

From UPI Health News (Business) (August 22, 2012)

Thiabendazole, an inexpensive anti-fungal drug, slows tumor growth and may be a promising chemotherapy drug for cancer, U.S. researchers says.

Hye Ji Cha, Edward Marcotte, John Wallingford and colleagues at the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, found the drug -- a Food and Drug Administration-approved, generic drug in use for 40 years -- destroyed newly established blood vessels, making it a "vascular disrupting agent."

Inhibiting blood vessel, or vascular, growth could be an important chemotherapeutic tool because it starves tumors, which induce new blood vessel formation to feed their out-of-control growth, Cha said.

Trials involving mice, published in the journal PLoS Biology, found thiabendazole decreased blood vessel growth in fibrosarcoma tumors -- cancers of the connective tissue -- by more than half.

Fibrosarcomas are generally heavily vascularized with blood vessels, Cha said.

"This is very exciting to us, because in a way we stumbled into discovering the first human-approved vascular disrupting agent," Marcotte said in a statement. "Our research suggests that thiabendazole could probably be used clinically in combination with other chemotherapies."

Posted: August 2012