In a study by researchers led by Dr. Antonio Giordano at the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine at Temple University and his colleagues at the University of Siena, Italy, a potential new treatment for mesothelioma appears promising.
This treatment involves repurposing a drug already approved for the treatment of pinworm parasite infections. Since this drug is already approved for one use, getting approval for another use will be less expensive, and even more importantly, can be brought to patient use more quickly than with a new drug. Because mesothelioma, almost always connected to asbestos exposure, is a deadly cancer with no current effective treatment, researchers throughout the world creatively investigate possible methods to stop – and soon cure – this deadly disease.
This anti-parasitic drug is named pyrvinium pamoate. It was found to alter the downstream genes in the WNT signaling pathway – pathways consisting of proteins that pass signals into a cell through cell surface receptors. These genes in the signaling pathway may be the cause of the aggressiveness of mesothelioma and its resistance to conventional therapy.
According to Dr. Giordano, whose study was published in the Journal of Cell Physiology, “The results of this study represent a step forward in the development of new treatments for patients with mesothelioma. Pyrvinium pamoate is able to affect important features of mesothelioma aggressiveness, suggesting that the repurposing of this drug for mesothelioma treatment could represent a new promising therapeutic approach.”
Author of the study, Marcella Barbarino of the University of Siena stated, “These are encouraging results, especially considering that drug repositioning, using already approved drugs for new indications, is a promising strategy to identify active molecules for a more rapid and less expensive clinical translation compared to de novo drug development.”
Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) and the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation funded this study, dedicated to Mr. Vittorio Stortino in his memory.
We are grateful for the work being done to urgently find a cure for this deadly disease and for the hope it gives to all those affected.