Thursday, November 20, 2014

Malaria drug may be effective treatment for colorectal cancer

Artemisinin comes from the plant 
Artemisia annua - Image courtesy
University of St George's London 
CANCER DIGEST – Nov. 20, 2014 – A common malaria drug could reduce recurrence of colorectal cancer providing a inexpensive alternative to current expensive chemotherapy given before surgery.

In an early pilot study, the drug, artesunaten, was given in 14 daily doses to 12 patients prior to surgery for colon cancer. Eleven similar patients were given a placebo before surgery. 

The study led by Professor Sanjeev Krishna, an infectious disease expert at St George University of London was published online Nov. 15, 2014 in the journal 

In the study patients were examined and then given either the anti-malaria drug artesunate or a placebo before surgery. After 42 months following surgery, there were six recurrences of cancer in the placebo group (of 12 patients) and one recurrence in the 10 patients given artesunate. (Two patients did not complete the study.)

The primary objective of the study, however, was to test the effectiveness of artesunate in triggering cancer cell death or apoptosis. The researchers observed that apoptosis occurring in more than 7 percent of cells was seen in 67 percent of those treated with artesunate compared 55 percent of those in the placebo group. Based on analysis of tumor cell death and other markers for cancer recurrence, they estimated that 91 percent of the artesunate group would survive 2 years compared to 57 percent of those in the placebo group.

No comments:

Post a Comment