Little Princess Trust News
What are repurposed medicines?
Little Princess Trust Research Project of the Month
Researchers estimate that it takes around 15 years to get a new medicine from an idea to use in patients.
In addition to that, many of the new potential medicines fail at some point during the testing process – for example, they might have terrible side effects or not have the expected effect on cancer.
This is a big problem for researchers who want to help children that are going through cancer now.
That’s where medicine repurposing comes in. Researchers take medicines used for other diseases, that are already approved and in use in clinics, and repurpose them to treat cancer.
There are still a lot of safety checks, but this can bypass a lot of the early research stages. This saves a lot of time and a lot of money.
Dr Maria Victoria Niklison Chirou is one of The Little Princess Trust’s researchers who is looking into a repurposed medicine for aggressive brain tumours.
From her previous work, she knew that our diet and the nutrients that are available in our bodies can have a big effect on cancer tumours.
This made her wonder whether it was possible to ‘starve’ tumours of nutrients which they rely too much on, like cholesterol.
The medicine Maria is working with has been available for adults for over 20 years, with few side effects. It reduces the amount of cholesterol in the blood for adults with high cholesterol.
Maria believes that the medicine would help reduce the amount of cholesterol available to brain tumours, which would make them weaker and easier to treat with standard chemotherapy.
So far, her team have had promising results. She hopes that this treatment will continue to perform well in the lab so that it can be used for children with brain tumours as soon as possible.