Anthelmintic drug already approved to treat infections of pinworm parasite was shown to effectively impair both mesothelioma cell growth and migration.
Mesothelioma, a very aggressive cancer, is mainly associated with exposure to asbestos. No effective therapies are currently available to treat mesothelioma, and the prognosis is extremely poor. Therefore, there is an urgent need to identify new possible therapeutic approaches.
Researchers challenged mesothelioma cells with pyrvinium pamoate, testing the potential to repurpose a drug already approved to treat infections of pinworm parasite. Analyzing at the molecular level, researchers found that the drug affected the expression of downstream genes in the WNT signaling pathway, which are implicated in mesothelioma aggressiveness and its resistance to conventional therapy.
Published in the Journal of Cell Physiology, the study was conducted by research groups lead by Dr. Antonio Giordano at the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Temple University, with collaborators at the University of Siena, Italy.
“These are encouraging results, especially considering that drug repositioning, using already approved drugs for new indications, is a promising strategy to identify active molecules for a more rapid and less expensive clinical translation compared to de novo drug development,” says study author Marcella Barbarino of the University of Siena.
“The results of this study represent a step forward in the development of new treatments for patients with mesothelioma. Pyrvinium pamoate is able to affect important features of mesothelioma aggressiveness, suggesting that the repurposing of this drug for mesothelioma treatment could represent a new promising therapeutic approach,” says Giordano.
The study was funded by the Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) and the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, and is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Vittorio Stortino.
Journal Reference: Barbarino M, Cesari D, Intruglio R, Indovina P, Namargedi A, Bertolino FM, Bottaro ME, Delaram R, Bellan C, Giordano A. Possible repurposing of pyrvinium pamoate for the treatment of mesothelioma: a pre-clinical assessment. J Cell Physiol, 2018.