New Combo of Chemo and Well-Known Malaria Drug Delivers Double Punch to Tumors


February 21, 2012

Penn Medicine News Release

Vancouver, British Columbia - Blocking autophagy -- the process of "self-eating" within cells -- is turning out to be a viable way to enhance the effectiveness of a wide variety of cancer treatments.

Specifically, blocking the action of an acidic inner cell part, which acts like a stomach and chews up proteins for recycling, is the main attack strategy, says Ravi K. Amaravadi, MD, an assistant professor of Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine and Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Amaravadi will give a presentation on the role of autophagy in fighting cancer at the annual American Association for Advancement of Science meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.

His lab and others have demonstrated that adding hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) — an FDA-approved drug used commonly for malaria and rheumatoid arthritis -- to many cancer therapies, including chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation, and immunotherapy, can enhance the antitumor activity of these drugs in laboratory models of treatment-resistant cancers, and ongoing clinical trials... Read More

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