An Old Blood Pressure Drug Shows Potential to Cure Blood Cancer


To make drug research and development process more cost effective and less time consuming, various scientists across the world are trying to repurpose many already approved drugs. Already approved drugs for some disease are being studied to fight some other disease.

In this quest, an old blood pressure lowering drug, amiloride was studied by Irena Misiewicz-Krzeminska and Norma C. Gutierrez of the Cancer Research Center-IBMCC in Salamanca, Spain to explore its cancer-killing ability.

Amiloride killed human multiple myeloma (a type of blood cancer) cells in mice. Amiloride interfered with a significant feature of cancer cells called alternative splicing. This process is crucial for the cancers cells to generate cancer proteins to survive and grow. The ability of amiloride to influence alternative splicing in cancer cells makes it a potential cancer therapy.

When the amiloride was combined with existing myeloma drugs like Revlimid ((lenalidomide), Alkeran (melphalan), dexamethasone, and Pomalyst (pomalidomide), the survival of mice with multiple myeloma increased.  Amiloride did not produce any toxicity in the mice.

Amiloride is an old diuretic drug which has been used to treat high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, swelling in different parts of the body like feet, and low potassium level in the blood.

The results from the latest study show the antimyeloma activity of amiloride and open a new route for its use as an alternative treatment for multiple myeloma in patients whose cancer returned.

Proteasome inhibitor- Takeda’s Ninlaro, Velcade, Amgen’s Kyprolis are present in the market along with Johnson & Johnson’s Darzalex (daratumumab) and Novartis’ Farydak (panobinostat) for the treatment of multiple myeloma.

Lately, scientists repurposed two drugs to reduce the brain shrinkage that causes neurodegenerative diseases. A licensed antidepressant, trazodone hydrochloride, and dibenzoylmethane, an anti-cancer compound restored the production of protein in the brain of mice whose shortage causes neurodegeneration.

Last year, Sanofi Genzyme collaborated with Recursion Pharma to exploit Sanofi’s clinical stage molecules and combine them with the drug repurposing platform of Recursion with the purpose of identifying uses of these molecules for a number of genetic diseases.

Featured Image Credit: Bigstockphoto (amiloride multiple myeloma)

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