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The cancer drugs in your bathroom cabinet

(The Guardian) From aspirin to antacids, beta blockers to ibuprofen, all are being reinvestigated and utilised as potential anti-cancer drugs.
Unlike older therapies, which directly target and destroy dividing cancer cells, many of these repurposed drugs appear to work by targeting the healthy cells that cancers team up with to support their growth. Though widely accepted, this view of cancer as a mixture of deranged and healthy cells is still relatively new – which in part explains why the anti-cancer properties of drugs like aspirin may have been missed the first time around.
“When many of these drugs were developed, we had a very simplistic view of cancer and all the focus was on finding ways of killing cancer cells,” says Pan Pantziarka, joint coordinator of the Repurposing Drugs in Oncology project, which aims to identify the most promising medicines for adaptation and get them into clinical trials. “But the whole system depends on developing a supporting blood supply, subverting the immune system, and producing certain growth factors. A lot of these repurposed drugs address these other things that cancer is dependent on to survive.”
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