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The cancer drugs in your bathroom cabinet

Why don’t the big pharma companies invest in trials about promising anti-cancer drugs that are already in your medicine cabinet?

Helen Hewitt lost her mother, her younger brother and her baby son to cancer. Having successfully overcome breast cancer herself, she is currently battling several tumours in her lungs, and – thanks to an inherited mutation in her DNA – is at high risk of developing other cancers as well. Yet Helen, 41, is pioneering an unfamiliar approach against this all too familiar foe. Alongside conventional chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy, she is taking a cocktail of experimental yet well-known medicines. Some of them might even be in your bathroom cabinet.

One is the diabetes drug metformin, which besides making healthy cells more sensitive to the effects of the hormone insulin may also help to starve sugar-hungry cancer cells. The cholesterol-lowering statin and the antibiotic she’s been prescribed have the added benefit of dampening inflammation – a process cancer cells use to help them grow. Then there’s mebendazole, a common treatment for threadworm, which may also inhibit the growth of the blood vessels to her tumours.

Helen sought out these drugs after undergoing surgery to remove one tumour from her lung, only to discover that a different tumour had set up offshoots there as well. “It just made sense to try something that might weaken the tumours but wasn’t going to have a big impact on me in terms of side effects,” says Helen, an NHS podiatrist who lives in Wolverhampton.

Read Full Article: The cancer drugs in your bathroom cabinet | Science | The Guardian

Read Full Article: The cancer drugs in your bathroom cabinet | Science | The Guardian

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