Antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine could help in cancer treatments. Recent research by the Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO) project found how these antimalarial drugs can make tumor cells more sensitive to treatment.
The authors are particularly excited about the potential for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as the evidence suggests they make tumor cells more sensitive to cancer treatment.
"What makes chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine so interesting is these multiple mechanisms of action", says Ciska Verbaanderd of the Anticancer Fund and the University of Leuven, Belgium, first author of the study."These antimalarial drugs act on both the level of cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment." Studying this has led to interesting scientific insights in tumor biology, such as the importance of autophagy, the tumor vasculature and the immune system."
Vikas P. Sukhatme MD ScD, co-founder of GlobalCures and one of the authors of this review, added "We look forward with much anticipation to the results of the 30 or so ongoing clinical studies that use chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for cancer treatment."
The researchers' hope is that with the publication of this study, increased awareness of the potential applications will bring these medications out of the medicine cabinet - and into cancer care.
Previous papers from the ReDO project have explored how inexpensive, common drugs such as beta-blockers and anti-fungal remedies can be "repurposed" and used as part of cancer treatments.