November 28th, 2017
Drugs that can fight or control the growth of cancer cells have long been a major subject of research due to high morbidity and mortality associated with cancers. According to a new study, the compound Nitazoxanide that is found in several anti-parasitic medications has the capacity to control the growth of common cancers like prostate and colon. This discovery has enabled the conversation to consider parasites used to fight prostate cancer.
According to latest estimates published by American Cancer Society, 8% of all new cancer cases are attributed to colorectal malignancies, whereas prostate cancer contributes to about 9.6% of all new cancer cases in the US.
Research indicates that dysregulation of cellular signaling – especially of Beta-catenin or Wnt (wingless) signaling can aggravate the risk of proliferation and growth of cancer cells. Norwegian scientists from the University of Bergen researched the opportunity to explore the effect of available drugs on the inhibition of cancer cell proliferation and successfully isolated nitazoxanide (NTZ) as an agent that can reduce the growth of colon and prostate cancer cells by blocking the cellular signaling pathways responsible for cancer growth.
Nitazoxanide (NTZ) which is classified under thiazolide compounds, is present in several anti-parasitic drugs. In fact, prior studies have also suggested that NTZ possess antimicrobial properties against anaerobic bacteria. Besides colon and prostate malignancies, it may also have a role in the prevention of diseases and cancerous lesions of bladder, liver, and breast tissues.
The research team also discovered that nitazoxanide also activates the immune system – thereby stimulating the body to respond to disease-causing elements by boosting the immunity.
The team of Norwegian scientists is also exploring several existing drugs that are already approved by Food and Drug Administration after a series of thorough clinical trials to assess efficacy and safety.
Further research and clinical analysis is needed to prove this hypothesis and to establish this connection. Research is underway to find new and existing molecules that can help stimulate the immune system or kill cancerous cells. For now, the speculation will continue with parasites used to fight prostate cancer.