Antidepressants in combination with blood thinners have been found to fight brain cancer.
The study on mice found the treatment doubled their lifespan.
Both drugs encourage the cancer cells to eat themselves (called autophagy).
Professor Douglas Hanahan, one of the study’s author, said:
“It is exciting to envision that combining two relatively inexpensive and non-toxic classes of generic drugs holds promise to make a difference in the treatment of patients with lethal brain cancer.
However, it is presently unclear whether patients might benefit from this treatment.
This new mechanism-based strategy to therapeutically target glioblastoma is provocative, but at an early stage of evaluation, and will require considerable follow-up to assess its potential.”
The studies on mice will hopefully lead to trials in human patients, Professor Hanahan said:
“Importantly, the combination therapy did not cure the mice; rather, it delayed disease progression and modestly extended their lifespan.
It seems likely that these drugs will need to be combined with other classes of anticancer drugs to have benefit in treating gliblastoma patients.
One can also envision ‘co-clinical trials’ wherein experimental therapeutic trials in the mouse models of glioblastom are linked to analogous small proof-of-concept trials in GBM patients. Such trials may not be far off.”
The research was published in the journal Cancer Cell (Shchors et al., 2015).
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Brain illustration image from Shutterstock