Newest Cancer Treatment May Already Be In Your Medicine Chest


Is the next cancer treatment already in your medicine chest?: image via parentables.howstuffworks.comIs the next cancer treatment already in your medicine chest?: image via parentables.howstuffworks.comIf you have allergies you may already be using one of two over-the-counter products that were recently successful in cancer studies in mice.  The two drugs, citirazine (Zyrtec) and cimetidine (Tagamet), are antihistamines commonly used to reduce runny noses and watery eyes. 

The experiments, conducted by Daniel H.Conrad and his research team from the department of microbiology and immunology at Virginia Commonwealth University, were conducted in two groups of mice - one with a strong intestinal allergy and the other with tumors.  Both groups were injected with myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC), cells that are known to inhibit T-cell ability to fight inflammation. 

Mice with the intestinal allergy plus MDSC were given either citirazine or cimetidine; both anti-histamines were effective at inhibiting the effects of the MDSC;  But even the group of mice with tumors experienced reversal of the tumors when treated with cimetidine.

Subsequent to these studies, the researchers conducted blood tests on humans with allergies and found the presense of circulating myloid-derived suppressor cells - not found in a control group of humans without allergies.

These findings are completely novel, establishing a relationship never before drawn between allergies and cancer and even a possible means of fighting cancer!

"Antihistamines may be one of the most commonly used over-the-counter drugs, but this report shows that we still have much to learn about their potential benefits," said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, which published the study in the July 2014 edition. "It is certainly not yet time to prophylactically administer antihistamines for cancer prevention, but the more we learn about myeloid derived suppressor cells, the more interesting these cells and their products become as immunotherapy targets in cancer. These new results suggest that we must be open-minded about seemingly distantly related immune mechanisms to examine." 

source: Eurekalert