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Reformulated imatinib eliminates morphine tolerance in lab studies
Date:2/21/2012

has not yet been observed in cancer patients who take imatinib because the drug does not penetrate the nervous system. Gutstein's group reformulated imatinib using a simple, clinically approved carrier molecule called Captisol that markedly increased drug delivery to the brain.

"What's particularly exciting is that imatinib already is approved for use in humans, which suggests that we might be able to utilize this discovery to treat patients fairly soon," Gutstein said. He emphasized that the reformulated imatinib must first be tested for efficacy and safety in further animal studies, then in humans in a Phase I study.

Potential to reduce debilitating side effects

"Many patients in severe pain often refuse high doses of opioids because of the side effects, and they desperately need relief," Gutstein said. "We may be able to quickly translate this discovery and dramatically reduce the suffering endured by the sickest patients, and not just those with cancer."

Patients taking morphine and other opioids can experience side effects ranging from unpleasant to life-threatening in their intensity, including itching, constipation, nausea and breathing depression. Reducing morphine tolerance could allow the use of lower doses to relieve pain with fewer side effects.


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Contact: Scott Merville
smerville@mdanderson.org
713-792-0661
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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