The use of non-cancer drugs that have some anticancer activity can be exploited for the treatment of cancer to reduce cost of treatment.
This is the focus for the Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO) project, started by the AntiCancer Fund, Belgium, and US based GlobalCures.
The word 'cancer
itself causes a fear, and most of us would want to stay clear of it. The situation today is much better than it once was; at least some cancers especially in the early stages, can be cured. However, the cost for the medications is quite high and unaffordable to a lot of people. Pharmaceutical companies sometimes cannot cut the costs down since they have to recover what they have invested in developing the drug. So what about those who can't afford the medications, especially when the cancer does not discriminate between the rich and the poor?
The ReDO project is searching an answer to the above using a simple principle. Some drugs that are available for conditions other than cancer have some anti-cancer
properties as well. Developing these drugs for cancer will require a lower investment and therefore reduce the cost of cancer treatment. In addition, these drugs may be less toxic than the current anti-cancer
. These drugs include:
deworming medication mebendazole •
anti-ulcer medication cimetidine •
anti-angina drug nitroglycerin •
antifungal drug itraconazole •
painkiller diclofenac •
Pre-clinical studies indicate that mebendazole may have some effect in colorectal
and bone cancer, melanoma and leukemia
The researchers from the ReDO project plan to collect the available information on the anti-cancer properties for these drugs and gather sufficient evidence so that they can undergo clinical trials for their anti-cancer properties. They have collaborated with the oncology
to publish their data.
Though the industry may be reluctant to invest in testing these
drugs for cancer, it is the need of the hour to supply low-cost anticancer drugs to those who cannot afford the current drugs.