A new study has found that diclofenac – a common painkiller that treats fever, migraine and post-operation pain – may hold the key to advancing cancer research.
The Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO) project has found that diclofenac contains anti-cancer properties. Belgian and American international experts that make up the ReDo team have shown that even though diclofenac is clearly a cancer drug, it might be possible that it can aid patients undergoing cancer treatments.
Diclofenac is a typically over-the-counter drug sold under branded names like Solaraze, Voltaren, Cambia, and Zipsor. Experts thought of testing medications that people usually keep in their medicine cabinet and see what other properties they have.
This is how they found that non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), such as diclofenac, had a significant effect when administered in conjunction with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Diclofenac boosts the immune system after surgery
After analyzing medical records of cancer patients, the researchers found that prescribing diclofenac for pain relief from a tumor removal surgery, helped improve the patient’s post-operative recovery. It turns out the painkiller could strengthen the patient’s immune system.
According to researchers, these encouraging findings might lead to further investigation into diclofenac as a viable cancer treatment. If the initial discovery is confirmed in clinical trials, it could cut costs drastically since diclofenac is cheap, readily available and presents low toxicity levels.
Study author Pan Pantziarka explained that the team is still surprised to see how many more applications there are to standard drugs that are prescribed and used every day.
But with each discovery, it is more visible that many of these drugs are “multi-targeted agents with interesting and useful effects on multiple pathways of interest in oncology,” he added.
Pantziarka also noted that diclofenac’s actions are in line with the latest generation of checkpoint inhibitors. Combining it with tried and tested treatments will make for the next exciting and promising phase of cancer research.
More common drugs could help fight cancer
Other scientists and projects have been looking for cheaper methods to treat cancer, and these findings make diclofenac a viable candidate. With the current high costs of cancer treatments, thousands of lives could be saved if the painkiller is confirmed by further investigation.
According to UPI’r report on the matter, four clinical trials have already started testing the experts’ findings. The ReDo team is also looking into other common drugs, such as Cimetidine and Ketorolac, too see if they are possible cancer treatments.
Image Source: Medical Cannabis Report