London: Common painkillers and anti-viral drugs could beat some of the most lethal forms of cancer, a new research has revealed.
Scientists at Karolinska Institute in Sweden have carried out the study and claim to have found evidence that the drugs can help to "turn off" a virus which is found in many tumours and is known to fuel their growth.
By treating the virus with anti-viral and anti-inflammatory painkillers, the scientists found that tumour growth rates could be slowed by up to 72 per cent, the `Daily Express` reported.
The research concentrated on a virus present in three-quarters of the population but which usually lies dormant in the body.
The scientists found the virus, Cytomegalovirus (CMV), "wakes up" when it detects cancer cells in the body and begins to accelerate their growth. CMV is thought to play a central role in cancers of the brain, breast, bowel and prostate.
In their study, the scientists showed that treating the CMV in these tumours can reduce their growth -- potentially a key way of eradicating them, as smaller tumours are easier to treat and can often be destroyed with chemotherapy.
In fact, the experiments on mice showed that tumour growth was reduced by about 72 percent when antiviral drugs and new anti-inflammatory painkillers called COX-2 inhibitors were used together.
Prof Cecilia Soderberg-Naucler, who led the study, said: "This presents a new approach and could be used as a possible complementary therapy."
Experts have welcomed the research.
Oliver Childs of Cancer Research UK said: "It will be interesting to see where this research leads in the longer term."