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Arthritis drug may be new hope for skin cancer

IANS  |  London 

Combining the treatment for the most deadly form of skin with a common anti-rheumatic drug could provide more effective results, new research has shown.

The findings showed that using "leflunomide" -- an immunosuppressive drug approved for treatment of -- in combination with drug, selumetinib almost completely stopped the growth of a in mice.

"By combining therapies, it's possible to attack the from several angles, which makes it harder for the to develop resistance to any of the drugs," said from the (UEA) in the UK.

"Our research has shown that there could also be further benefits - by joining these two drugs together you may be able to enhance their effects, getting a treatment that is more than the sum of its parts," Wheeler said.

Although only five per cent of skin cases involve melanoma, it causes the majority of deaths from the If caught early, is very treatable, but once the has metastasised or spread, then treatment becomes more difficult.

The research, published in the journal Oncotarget, tested leflunomide's effect against with selumetinib.

When the team tested leflunomide in the lab, it was found to work on cells irrespective of the genetic signature of the

This means that leflunomide has the potential to be used in all cases, not just for harbouring BRAF mutations, the researchers said.

However, when leflunomide was tested on cells jointly with selumetinib, the scientists found it was more effective than either drug on its own.

In mice, the two drugs together almost completely halted the growth of the over a 12 day period, which far outstripped the effect of either drug used in isolation, the researchers said.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, December 20 2017. 14:30 IST