Oncologists to test old mainstream drugs in cancer trials

2015 Research

Oncologists are to test a cocktail of four common drugs in a research study on cancer patients at the Care Oncology Clinic in London.

The drugs metformin (known to lower blood sugar levels, as a diabetes drug), a statin (which should lower triglyceride levels), a parasite killer (mebenzadole) and the antibiotic, doxycycline.

In early tests a combination of metformin and a statin have been showing great promise. But then, as CANCERactive has covered many times, high blood sugar levels are known to be linked to poor survival levels, triglycerides are known to cause recurrence in cancers such as prostate, and many cancers are driven by parasites and yeasts. These ‘old’ drugs have approval for use, and in the UK they can be prescribed ‘off licence’ (i.e. for another purpose) if the Doctor sees a possible benefit.

The oncologists leading the trial are Professor Justin Stebbing (Professor of oncology at Imperial College London) and Professor Angus Dalgleish (Professor of Oncology at St George’s Hospital, Tooting).

The trial first has to be approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, who may yet turn it down.

Patients will have to contribute towards the drugs.

Some 68 old drugs are thought to have potential in the treatment of cancer – CANCERactive covered the story ‘Old drugs for new’ in full here. The article also tells how Professor Ben Williams beat his grade 4 brain cancer at the age of 60 by using just such a cocktail of old drugs.

Lack of interest by Big Pharma and Cancer Research

The Pharmaceutical companies are not interested in putting up money for the trials because the drugs are usually out of patent and there is little profit in it for them.

Lord Saatchi proposed the liberation of oncologists to treat terminally ill patients for whom existing therapies had failed in his proposed bill which was vetoed by the Liberal Democrats – that liberation included use of these treatments.

Many drugs companies are overtly and covertly against such treatments – perish the thought that they might work and provide a cheap way of treating cancer patients.

Peter Johnson, lead clinician at CRUK dived in with both feet: “There is no data about the exact effect of these drug combinations in cancer patients”.

Yup, Peter, that’s why they are doing the trial.

2015 Research
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