Drugs used to prevent malaria could be key to fighting multiple forms of cancer, researchers from the University of Leuven in Belgium have discovered.
The research team investigated how chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), both active ingredients in anti-malarial drugs, could affect a tumour’s sensitivity to existing cancer treatments.
Doctors are finding that cancer cells are becoming increasingly resistant to some forms of treatment, making an alternative option a vital part of the fight against the disease.
The team say they uncovered evidence that CQ and HCQ could be effective in treating brain cancer, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
The team’s findings back up previous research that suggested CQ and HCQ are medications could contain anti-cancer properties.
“CQ and HCQ have been studied in multiple preclinical cancer models and have demonstrated activity on several cancer-supporting pathways and in combination with a broad range of other therapies,” the study authors wrote in journal ecancermedicalscience.
They added that based on their findings, the medications “deserve further clinical investigations in several cancer types.”
Researchers around the world are in the process of developing new cancer treatments that break down the resistance of tumours to healthy cells.
Last year, a group of Australian researchers from Melbourne discovered that BET inhibitors could be used to reduce tumour growth by blocking BET proteins, a family of proteins that control whether genes are switched on or off.