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Common antifungal drug may decrease tumor growth, prove useful as a cancer therapy

Research conducted at the University of Texas at Austin suggests that a common antifungal drug can slow tumor growth and may be a promising chemotherapy for cancer. The above video posted today by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) explains how scientists made this discovery while studying the evolutionary relatedness of yeast, frogs, mice and humans. According to the NIGMS Biomedical Beat:

Scientists studied [the gene rab11b in yeast] to find a drug that could keep new blood vessels from forming. Stopping this formation could aid cancer treatments because tumors recruit new blood vessels to feed their growth. In searching for a molecule that would block the yeast gene, the researchers found an unlikely candidate—thiabendazole, an anti-parasitic agent with anti-fungal activity. Following up with more studies, the researchers showed that the compound reduced the growth of blood vessels in frog embryos and inhibited the growth of human blood vessel cells. Thiabendazole also decreased the emergence of new blood vessels and reduced the size of tumors in mice with cancer. In addition to their potential cancer treatment applications, the findings more generally demonstrate the value of an evolutionary approach to drug development.

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