`Old drugs could be reused for different ailments`

Last Updated: Aug 02, 2012, 21:16 PM IST

Washington: If you thought `recycle` and `reuse` were only associated with paper, think again!

Indian origin scientist Sivanesan Dakshanamurthy along with his colleagues is trying to explain how old approved drugs might be used to treat a different disease to avoid expenditure and wastage.

With the cost bringing out a new drug in the market goes up to USD 1 billion, scientists have found out a technique for repurposing existing medicines, which could cut drug development costs and make new medicine available to patients faster.

The findings published in American Chemical Society`s Journal of Medicinal Chemistry says that scientists for long have known that drugs already approved for one disease might be effective for others.

However, existing methods to identify new uses for old drugs lack accuracy and have other disadvantages.

Dakshanamurthy`s team developed a comprehensive new computer method called "Train-Match-Fit-Streamline" (TMFS) that uses 11 factors to quickly pair likely drugs and diseases.

"We anticipate that expanding our TMFS method to the more than 27,000 clinically active agents available worldwide across all targets will be most useful in the repositioning of existing drugs for new therapeutic targets," they said.

The study describe using TMFS to discover evidence that Celebrex, the popular prescription medicine for pain and inflammation, has a chemical signature and architecture suggesting that it may work against a difficult-to-treat form of cancer.

Likewise, they found that a medicine for hookworm might be repurposed to cut off the blood supply that enables many forms of cancer to grow and spread.

The authors are receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defence.

PTI