A team of international scientists have found that anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine could support existing cancer treatments in two-pronged attack on tumour cells.
The scientists working on the Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO) project, which is an international collaboration between the Anticancer Fund, Belgium, and USA-based GlobalCures, found evidence that suggests the two anti-malarial drugs make tumour cells more sensitive to cancer treatment.
“What makes chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine so interesting is these multiple mechanisms of action”, said study first author Ciska Verbaanderd of the Anticancer Fund and the University of Leuven, Belgium.
“These anti-malarial drugs act on both the level of cancer cells and the tumour microenvironment. Studying this has led to interesting scientific insights in tumour biology, such as the importance of autophagy, the tumour vasculature and the immune system,” she added.
The results show that these anti-malarial drugs could offer significant clinical benefit for certain cancer patients, especially in combination with standard anticancer treatments.This should be confirmed by additional clinical results.
“We look forward with much anticipation to the results of the 30 or so ongoing clinical studies that use chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for cancer treatment,” said Vikas P. Sukhatme, Co-founder of GlobalCures.