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Common Antifungal Agent May Decrease Tumor Growth

Thiabendazole reduced blood-vessel formation in animal cancers (Aug. 21)

An inexpensive antifungal drug, thiabendazole, slows tumor growth and shows promise as a chemotherapy for cancer, according to an August 21 report from the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin.

Thiabendazole is an FDA-approved generic drug that has been in clinical use for 40 years as an oral antifungal agent. It is not currently used for cancer therapy.

Researchers found that the drug destroys newly established blood vessels, making it a “vascular disrupting agent.” Their research was published in PLoS Biology.

Inhibiting vascular growth can be an important chemotherapeutic tool because it starves tumors. Tumors induce new blood vessel formation to feed their out-of-control growth.

In studies using mice, the researchers found that thiabendazole decreased blood vessel growth in fibrosarcoma tumors by more than 50%. Fibrosarcomas are cancers of the connective tissue, and they are generally heavily vascularized with blood vessels.

Thiabendazole also slowed tumor growth.

Now the researchers’ goal is to move the drug into clinical trials in humans. They are talking with clinical oncologists about the next steps.

For more information, visit the College of Natural Sciences Web site.

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