Navigation Links
Heart Drug May Be a Cancer Fighter
Date:1/7/2009

Digoxin, used to treat heart failure, slowed cell growth, study says

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Digoxin, a drug used for many years to treat irregular heart rhythms and heart failure, may also be a cancer-fighting agent, researchers report.

Cancer cells need to create new blood vessels to survive. But many of these cells are oxygen-deprived and need to switch on genes that produce a protein called hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1), which help cells survive in low-oxygen conditions.

Digoxin reduces HIF-1, causing cancer cells to die, the scientists from Johns Hopkins University found.

"Anytime you see alternative uses for existing drugs, that always generates a certain amount of excitement," said William Phelps, director of preclinical and translational cancer research at the American Cancer Society. "In the cancer field, we are always looking for any new compounds, so this is an exciting potential."

For the study, Dr. Gregg L. Semenza, director of the vascular program at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering, and his colleagues tested more than 3,000 U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs for their ability to reduce HIF-1 levels in cancer cells.

They identified 20 drugs that reduced HIF-1 by more than 88 percent; more than half are used to treat heart failure. The researchers then looked specifically at digoxin because it is commonly used and its side effects are well-documented.

The researchers found that prostate cancer cells treated in a laboratory with digoxin grew significantly slower. After three days of treatment, there were fewer cancer cells, and many cells had stopped growing altogether, compared with untreated cells.

"This is really exciting, to find that a drug already deemed safe by the FDA also can inhibit a protein crucial for cancer cell survival," Semenza said in a statement.

To see if digoxin would work on cancer cells in animals, and not just on isolated cancer cells in a lab, the researchers then gave mice with tumors daily injections of digoxin.

They found that in mice not given digoxin, tumors grew to the point where they could be felt after nine days. But, in mice treated with digoxin, tumors couldn't be felt until 15 to 28 days.

And levels of HIF-1 were lower in the tumors of treated mice, compared with untreated mice. The researchers also found that it was digoxin that reduced HIF-1 levels leading to slower tumor growth.

The report was published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

There have been previous studies showing that digoxin and other so-called digitalis-based drugs reduce the risk of dying from or developing some cancers, Semenza's team noted.

In one long-term follow-up of 175 breast cancer patients, those taking digitalis drugs had a 6 percent death rate, compared with 34 percent among those not taking these drugs. Another study of more than 9,000 patients taking digoxin found an association between high levels of the drug and a lower risk of leukemia and lymphoma and kidney and urinary tract cancers, according to the study.

Phelps said future research needs to focus on how these drugs slow tumor growth to see if it's different from how they work to control heart function. "If so, can you improve the class to more specifically hit this new target that has the anti-tumor effects?" he said.

More information

To learn more about digoxin, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: William Phelps, Ph.D., director, preclinical and translational cancer research, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; Dec. 16, 2008, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Drug for cluster headaches may cause heart problems
2. Use of certain lipid measures not more effective in predicting coronary heart disease
3. Restricting Blood Flow May Help Heart Bypass Patients
4. Urban Smog Tough on Young Adults Hearts
5. Stanford study highlights cost-effective method of lowering heart disease risks
6. Vitamin Es lack of heart benefit linked to dosage
7. Drug That Lowers Resting Heart Rate Being Tested
8. Heart Attack Boosts Diabetes Risk
9. Embryonic Stem Cells Repair Human Heart
10. U of M study: Early treatment can reverse heart damage
11. Embryonic Human Stem Cells May Help Repair Heart Muscle, Lab Study Shows
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... First Choice Emergency Room , the ... Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its new Mesquite-Samuell Farm facility. , “We ... new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, Executive Medical Director of First Choice ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland Department ... in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness at ... Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of 42 ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from a complex ... as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this pain and ... a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of emotions, from ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Pulmonary Hypertension ... that it will receive two significant new grants to support its work to ... its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their work ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is ... Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. ... the highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Mass. , June 24, 2016   Pulmatrix, ... pharmaceutical company developing innovative inhaled drugs, announced today that ... Russell Investments reconstituted its comprehensive set of ... "This is an important milestone for Pulmatrix," ... will increase shareholder awareness of our progress in developing ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016  Arkis BioSciences, a leading innovator ... more durable cerebrospinal fluid treatments, today announced it ... funding is led by Innova Memphis, followed by ... private investors.  Arkis, new financing will accelerate the ... market release of its in-licensed Endexo® technology. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Research and Markets ... Market - Forecast to 2022" report to their offering. ... method for the patients with kidney failure, it replaces the ... from the patient,s blood and thus the treatment helps to ... chloride in balance. Increasing number of ESRD ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: