Researchers have discovered that a painkiller commonly used to treat various conditions including migraines, arthritis and fever contain certain properties that can fight off the development of cancer.
The findings of the researchers were based on both current and previous studies regarding the effects of the drug on this fatal disease.
According to UPI, researchers from the Anticancer Fund analyzed the results of various experiments from 1983 on the drug known as diclofenac, which is marketed under different names such as Cambia, Solaraze, Voltaren and Zipsor.
They then cross-referenced the information they collected with on-going clinical tests on diclofenac as well as the medical records of cancer patients who were treated using this drug.
Based on their findings, diclofenac, which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), proved to be effective against the growth of tumor caused by different kinds of cancer. In addition, the drug can also prevent metastasis, which refers to the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.
According to the researchers, this drug's anti-cancer properties can play an important role in the treatment of patients, especially when combined with other proven medical procedures and methods.
"After all, it's metastatic disease that often kills patients, not the original primary disease," lead author Dr. Pan Pantzsiarka said in a press release. "It may also be that diclofenac may have actions which synergise with the latest checkpoint inhibitors - the combination of the latest drugs in the anti-cancer armory with some of the oldest is especially exciting."
The latest study on diclofenac is just one of the drugs currently being studied by researchers as part of the Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDo) project. This initiative, which is a joint project carried out by the Belgium-based Anticancer Fund in partnership with researchers from London and the U.S.' GlobalCures, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Harvard Medical School, aims to discover other commonly used drugs that can be repurposed for cancer treatments.
"It's still somewhat surprising that there is still so much we don't understand about how many of the standard drugs we use every day, like diclofenac, work," Dr. Pantziarka said. "But the more we learn, the more we can see that these drugs are multi-targeted agents with interesting and useful effects on multiple pathways of interest in oncology."
The findings of the ReDo research team were detailed in a new study published in the online journal eCancer Medical Science.