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article imageCancer Could be Treated by Anti-Psychotic Drugs

By Jerry Kennard     Aug 13, 2009 in Health
Preliminary findings showing that anti-psychotic drugs could help in the treatment of cancer have been published in the online issue of the International Journal of Cancer
Researchers have long puzzled over the reasons why people who suffer with schizophrenia, and who tend to smoke heavily, have comparatively low rates of cancer. It has always been thought that the chemical properties of anti-psychotic medication may have a role to play. Now, researchers have found the cancer killing properties of anti-psychotic medication.
The research team, from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, have reported that pimozide (Orap) killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells in laboratory tests. The action of pimozide appears to block both cholesterol and lipids required by cancer cells to grow and divide. A summary of the findings is reported in the online science journal ScienceDaily.
The second-generation drug olanzapine (Zyprexa) is known to collect in the lungs of patients for whom it is prescribed. Researchers also noted its cancer killing qualities and are optimistic that it could be useful in the treatment of lung cancer.
A comparison of pimozide and olanzapine shows that pimozide has the most potent anti-cancer qualities. The research team decided to combine pimozide with mevastatin, a drug known to suppress cholesterol production in the body. Cancer killing effects were even more impressive with the drugs combined.
Anti-psychotic drugs are well known for some pronounced side-effects although second-generation drugs tend to be tolerated better. Drug combinations such as pimozide with mevastatin could point the way to lower doses of anti-psychotics in the treatment of cancer.
More about Anti-psychotic drugs, Cancer treatment, Pimozide
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