STANFORD, Calif. A little-used class of antidepressants appears potentially effective in combating a particularly deadly form of lung cancer, according to a new study from researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
And because the drugs have already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in humans, the researchers have been able to quickly launch a clinical trial to test their theory in patients. The phase-2 trial is now recruiting participants with small-cell lung cancer and other, similar conditions like aggressive gastrointestinal neuroendocrine cancers.
The "repositioning" of an existing drug to treat a disorder other than the one for which it was originally approved is an example of how extremely large genetic and biological databases are changing the face of medicine.
"We are cutting down the decade or more and the $1 billion it can typically take to translate a laboratory finding into a successful drug treatment to about one to two years and spending about $100,000," said Atul Butte, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics.
Butte is the division chief of systems medicine and director of the Center for Pediatric Bioinformatics at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. He is a co-senior author of the study, which will be published online Sept. 27 in Cancer Discovery. Julien Sage, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics, is the other senior author. The study's lead author is postdoctoral scholar Nadine Jahchan, PhD. Joel Neal, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine, is the principal investigator for the clinical trial.
Small-cell lung cancers account for only about 15 percent of all lung cancers, but they are particularly deadly. "The five-year survival for small-cell lung cancer is only 5 percent," said Sage. "There has not been a single efficient therapy developed in the last 30 years. But when we began to test these drugs in human cancer cells gro
|Contact: Krista Conger|
Stanford University Medical Center