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Study Methadone/Could Be Used Leukaemia/Past Study: Lung Ca


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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2480049 ... cells.html


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Scientists believe that the heroin substitute could be a potential therapy for the cancer, particularly for patients whose disease no longer responds to traditional treatments.

Laboratory tests show that methadone can kill leukaemia cells resistant to both chemotherapy and radiation.

Although potent against cells of the cancer, the drug does not harm healthy ones, according to the findings published today (FRI) in the journal Cancer Research.

"Methadone kills sensitive leukaemia cells and also breaks treatment resistance, but without any toxic effects on non-leukaemic blood cells," said Dr Claudia Friesen, from the University of Ulm in Germany, who led the study.

"We find this very exciting, because once conventional treatments have failed a patient, which occurs in old and also in young patients, they have no other options."

Around 6,000 people in Britain are diagnosed with leukaemia every year and the disease is the most common form of cancer in children.

The scientists found that methadone was as effective as standard chemotherapies and radiation treatments on most cells.

However, it was able to kill other cells, resistant to both common treatments.

The tests revealed that methadone acts on the cancer cells in the same way as chemotherapy drugs, by activating triggers in the body which prompt the cells to die.

For the study Dr Friesen and her team tested the same dose of methadone that is usually given to heroin addicts to help wean them off the drug.

While the scientists acknowledge the possibility that leukaemia patients treated with methadone could go on to develop an addiction to the drug, they say that methadone is not as addictive as heroin.

"Addiction shouldn't be an unsolvable problem if methadone is ever used as an anti-cancer therapy," Dr Friesen said.

The team now plans to test the effect that methadone has on mice breed to have human leukaemia.

The scientists also believe that the drug could be used to treat other forms of cancer.

A previous study has suggested that methadone could kill lung cancer cells.

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(Telegraph.co.uk, By Kate Devlin, July 31, 2008)


The information contained in these articles may or may not be in agreement with my own opinions. They are not posted as medical advice of any kind.

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