Tacrolimus, a drug commonly used to prevent organ transplantation rejection aids in the inhibition of breast cancer growth, shows study.
Tacrolimus is used to prevent rejection in people who have received kidney, liver, or heart transplants. Tacrolimus is in a class of medications called immunosuppressants. It works by decreasing the activity of the immune system to prevent it from attacking the transplanted organ. Tacrolimus does this by binding to and inactivating a protein called calcineurin in immune cells.
Although preventing organ transplant rejection and inhibiting cancer growth may seem unrelated, the team realized that activating calcineurin is a common pathway that stimulates both the immune system and the growth of new blood vessels to tumors. Blocking blood vessel growth to tumors is a therapeutic strategy to inhibit tumor growth.
The team tested the drug in a pre-clinical breast tumor model and found that orally administered Tacrolimus inhibited breast tumor growth rate by over 70 percent.
Klauber-DeMore said, "This data is encouraging, but we don't know yet whether Tacrolimus will inhibit breast cancer growth in humans. However, this pre-clinical study provides a reasoning for the next step, which will be to perform a clinical trial using Tacrolimus in patients with breast cancer."
The study was recently reported in the Public Library of Science.