It is a little-known but common practice for drugs meant for one illness to be “off-branded” for use in another, and that practice may soon be applied in the quest for a cure for mesothelioma. The drug being redirected is quinacrine. Once considered the gold standard for treating malaria, it has recently been relegated to treating protozoal infections, but now it may come into a newer and more remarkable use — killing malignant mesothelioma cells.
Quinacrine Has Potential for Treating Mesothelioma
Physicians desperate for a cure for a fatal disease like malignant mesothelioma are often open to trying new things on the chance that they will provide either relief from pain or a few more months of survival. That is what researchers from Penn State, Texas Tech, Keck Graduate Institute in California and St. John’s University in New York did when they decided to apply quinacrine to mesothelioma cell lines.
Publishing their findings in the International Journal of Molecular Science, the group reports that quinacrine is mostly used today to treat diarrhea caused by protozoa, as well as to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. But they also believe is has potential as an anti-cancer drug with a “high degree of toxicity,” even at low concentrations.
Drug Halts Mesothelioma Cell Migration
The drug researchers found that when mesothelioma cells were treated with quinacrine, they stopped migrating and forming new colonies that eventually become tumors. They also ran simulations of the drug’s effect on a 3D culture that predicted significant efficacy.
Overall, the list of positive findings from the application of quinacrine to mesothelioma was extremely positive, with natural cell death, prevention of the growth of tumor-feeding blood vessels among the most encouraging. More studies will follow.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and you would like information on additional studies and medications, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help you access those resources. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.