Research has found that a drug commonly used to treat a broad range of fungal infections, including skin and nail infections, has a lot of potential as a new cancer treatment.

Itraconazole, a generic antifungal agent that costs relatively less, shows some evidence of efficacy in metastatic prostate cancer—which would make it an attractive proposition given the high costs associated with cancer treatments such as arbiraterone, said Pan Pantziarka, member of the Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO) project that researched the potential of the drug.

The ReDO project is an international collaboration of anticancer researchers that seeks to re-purpose well-known and well-characterized non-cancer drugs for new uses in oncology.

Pantziarka pointed out that itraconazole shows potential in a number of areas with high unmet patient needs, particularly in non-small cell lung cancer and possibly in some rarer malignancies.

The low cost of itraconazole could make it an attractive cancer treatment in low and middle income countries. But there are a few roadblocks that must be addressed before this anti-fungal medication can reach the anti-cancer market, the researchers noted.

Study author Lydie Meheus from the Anticancer Fund, Belgium that our intention in collecting data on re-purposed drugs is to do more than merely bringing it to the attention of the medical community.

Meheus noted that it is rather obvious that the pharma industry is not interested in taking the driver’s seat when we are dealing with commercially neglected drugs.

But according to leaders of the ReDO project, these re-purposed anticancer drugs such as antifungals and painkillers may represent the future of cancer drug research.

The researchers hope that increased awareness will bring these medications out of the medicine cabinet—and possibly into cancer care.

The study was published in the journal ecancermedicalscience.

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Source: IANS

Armed with a PhD in Alternative Medicine, a graduate degree in Biotechnology, an MSc, and an MBA in Clinical Research and Clinical Pharmacology, Dr Jonathan is a certified practitioner of Alternative Medicine and is actively involved in patient education initiatives. He is also the author of the bestselling book, Outsmart Diabetes. Dr Jonathan loves to share his passion for herbs and other alternative medicinal practices with others through his writing.