Researchers found that the drug – Naltrexone, which is used to treat addictions like alcohol and Heroin can also be used to treat Breast Cancer. This novel discovery was made by researchers from St. George’s University of London where they found anti-cancer elements in the drug.
According to findings published in the international journal of oncology, the drug when given in low doses can stop the cancer cells from growing and also destroy them as the immune system turns against the disease. “We saw that by giving the drug for two days, then withdrawing it, cancer cells would stop cycling and undergo cell death,” explains Dr Liu, who led the research team.
Scientists are also digging for other drugs that can help in the treatment of Cancer such as the antimalarial drug artesunate and cannabinoids, obtained from cannabis.Previous studies have found that Naltrexone may diminish symptoms associated to Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia and Parkinson’s disease. Behavioral disorders like Kleptomania and trichotillomania have also improved with the use of this effective drug.
The drug Naltrexone has numerous adverse effects such as gastrointestinal problems including Diarrhea and abdominal cramping. The drug has been known to cause liver damage if given in high doses, therefore studies have emphasized on the importance of giving low doses.
If similar medicinal properties could be found in further such drugs then it would be a great boon for both the oncologists and patients. Most people suffering from Cancer are in the habit of alcohol and tobacco use, thus drugs like Naltrexone would prove a beneficial treatment plan for them.
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