AIDS Drug to Fight Cancer

Aug 31, 2007
Researchers from the U.S. National Cancer Institute found that a drug, which is used in treating patients infected with AIDS virus, has shown positive results in fighting cancer.

U.S. scientists examined the way drugs, called protease inhibitors, which are used in combination with some other drugs to combat HIV, acted against several types of cancer; this includes non-small cell lung cancer.

American scientists performed a study, which was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, where they examined the effects of protease inhibitors on slowing the growth of cancer cells. The experiment was made on laboratory mice. From six drugs, meant to fight HIV, three were able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

Nelfinavir proved to be the most effective drug, according to the researchers. This drug is sold by Roche Holding AG as Viracept. They mentioned that it was able to slow the growth of two types of breast cancer cells, one being drug-sensitive and the other one drug-resistant.

Scientists began an initial clinical test of nelfavir on cancer patients.

In 1998 Viracept received green light on being sold in Europe. At that time Viracept was already sold in the United States where it received marketing approval a year earlier and was sold by Pfizer Inc..

Along with Viracept the two other drugs that slowed down the growth of cancer cells were Ritonavir, which is being sold by Abbott Laboratories Inc. as Norvir and a protease inhibitor called Saquinavir, which Roche sells as Invirase.

American scientists analyzed the effects of protease inhibitors due to the fact that these are able to affect protein, which plays important role in the development of several types of cancer. Those people that are infected with HIV use protease inhibitors for slowing the spread of virus, as well as for reducing the risk of developing illnesses that are related to AIDS.

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