London: Ever thought an illegal rave drug could one day hold the key to beating cancer? Well, researchers in Britain have discovered that modified versions of Ecstasy can help tackle blood cancer.
Six years ago it was found that cancers affecting white blood cells responded to psychotropic drugs including ecstasy, weight-loss pills and anti-depressants.
Now, scientists at the University of Birmingham said modified forms of the drug of the drug MDMA – commonly known as Ecstasy – has the potential to destroy cancerous cells by 100 times.
“This is an exciting next step towards using a modified form of MDMA to help people suffering from blood cancer. While we would not wish to give people false hope, the results of this research hold the potential for improvements in treatments in years to come,” the Daily Express quoted Professor John Gordon, of the university’s School of Immunology and Infection, as saying.
“Many types of lymphoma remain hard to treat and non-toxic drugs which are both effective and have few side-effects are desperately needed,” said Dr David Grant, scientific director of the charity Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, which part-funded the study.
“Further work is required but this research is a significant step forward in developing a potential new cancer drug,” he added.
Chemotherapy is currently the main course of treatment for blood cancers.
But in many cases it will fail because the cancer cells have developed defences against the drugs.
The new ecstasy-based treatment can bypass this defence mechanism.