Disulfiram, Anti-alcoholism Drug’s Brain Cancer Study Gets $2.5 M Grant


Disulfiram Drug offers hope to brain cancer patients. Pic courtesy: egaldrugsguide.com

Can the alcoholism drug Disulfiram also help in combating the growth of brain tumor? Initial investigations by scientist seem to suggest so.

In order to further explore Disulfiram’s potential, a second grant in three years has been awarded to the Ben and Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment at Swedish Medical Center. The generous grant of $2.5 million to the Ivy Center has been awarded by the Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation.

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reports that the Swedish Center plans to use the new grant to identify different drugs with potential for clinical use in brain cancer treatment.

How does the Swedish Center plan to identify the new drugs? The plan is by increasing the scope of the pilot study designed to target and eliminate cancerous tumor stem cells completed with funds received from the Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation.

Traditionally the drug Disulfiram has been used to over come acute alcoholism in patients, hence it is known as the alcoholism drug.

In the pilot study, Disulfiram, has been successfully identified as a top candidate for preclinical testing for the brain tumor glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). The expanded study will use the latest $2.5 million grant to fund preclinical trials to further authenticate the use of Disulfiram to treat brain cancer.

Grant funds are to be utilized also to conduct tests on 50,000 candidates against brain cancer stem cells—derived from a larger group of patients—to determine their ability to combat the growth of cancerous tumor cells in the brain.

Another independent study published at the same time in Oncotarget also agrees to Disulfiram role in antitumor activity in GBM. Sandra Dunn, Ph.D., study-lead and associate professor and faculty of medicine member in the department of pediatrics at the University of British Columbia said,

Within one week’s time, our two groups showed similar results using direct patient tissue samples.

This new discovery offers hope to many such patients whose life is being compromised due to the presence of brain cancer. Gregory Foltz, M.D., the Ivy Center’s director and senior author of the pilot study that identified Disulfiram as a treatment candidate, said,

With the Ivy Foundation’s renewed support, we can continue to identify potential new treatments that target these pathways. This approach holds great promise to not only extend a patient’s life, but improve their quality of life as well.

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