Old drug could have new use in treating cancer
Cancer researchers usually rely on the most advanced technology to make breakthroughs in fighting the disease. But sometimes, they can turn to a low-tech tool to find an unexpected answer.
In this case, it was thiabendazole, a fungicide traditionally used to control mold and blight in fruits and vegetables and roundworm in livestock. While studying our evolutionary history to determine new methods of treating cancer, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin happened upon the drug that has been around since the 1960s and found an exciting new use: slowing tumor growth in cancer patients.
Used on laboratory animals, the drug slowed the growth of tumors and prevented the formation of the blood vessels that enable tumors’ malignant growth. It also proved effective when used on human cells drawn from umbilical cords.
Researchers hope the drug - which would likely be used in combination with chemotherapy - can be used to treat all kinds of cancers.