MTX is primarily used to treat arthritis till now
A recent discovery by the researchers from University of Sheffield in Britain may have an affordable cure for people suffering from the blood cancer myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). The treatment is from a drug which has been primarily used to treat inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis. Methotrexate (MTX), the drug in discussion, is one thousandth of the cost of a promising drug which has been shown to work in the same way. It (MTX) is also stated to have very few side effects.
Currently, MPN treatment, which is diagnosed in people in the 50’s and the 60’s, is limited to aspirin, removal of excess blood and mild chemotherapy. MPN is a result of an overproduction of blood cells creating a significant impact on quality-of-life, with symptoms such as night sweats, itching and tiredness.
As reported by IANS ,
Recently, the drug Ruxolitinib was shown to provide relief, but at a cost of over 40,000 pounds per year per patient, it has not been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in Britain.
The study has discovered that Methotrexate (MTX) can work in the same way. It is commonly used at low doses to treat inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis and has few side effects.
“Given that a year’s course of low-dose MTX costs around 30 pounds, the potential to repurpose MTX could provide thousands of patients with a much needed treatment option and also generate substantial savings for health care systems,” Zeidler said.
In this study, the scientists tested the effectiveness of the drug in treating MPN in fruit fly and human cells.
The researchers are now looking to undertake clinical trials to examine the possibility of repurposing low-dose MTX for the treatment of MPNs.
The results of the study appeared in the journal PLOS ONE.