Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Old Drug Shows New Promise

This story made international headlines yesterday, and it is worth following. A drug called Ribavirin, which has been on the market for 10 years to treat other disease like hepatitis C, could be used to treat 30% of cancers. A small sample study was conducted last year and the results are promising.

Doctors in Montreal tested the antiviral drug ribavirin on 11 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), who had undergone several other treatments that had previously failed.

Nine of the patients saw their conditions improve within a matter of months, with one achieving complete remission and two achieving partial remission, all with few side effects. The results are published online in the journal, Blood.

This particular cancer news story is exciting doctors because it is already an established drug, and it has few side effects. It may indeed help many more people. It's good to know what options are out there, and to discuss it with your physician. More studies will likely occur as a result of this finding, so let's hope future outcomes are positive to help establish Ribavirin as a cancer fighting drug.

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