Flavopiridol is an old drug that was once used to treat forms of cancer. This synthetic flavonoid may have found a new purpose thanks to an international team of scientist who claim that flavopiridol may be repurposed to play a big role in the fight against brain tumors.
There is, at this point in time, no cure for the most common form of brain cancer. Glioblastomas, as it is called, could possibly be tackled by flavopuridol and with no other cure the stakes are very high.
If you are diagnosed with glioblastoma in the US you only have a 30 percent chance of living even another two years. By the end of 2016 there are estimated to be another 1200 new cases. With the potential in the new discovery in this old drug, the researches who first discovered the new use are working hard and feel with so many lives on their line they have responsibility. They are determined and hopeful with their lead.
The team is made up of researches from the US, Italy and the United Kingdom. What they found is that flavopiridol can be used to starve glioblastoma tumors by starving them. The cells rely on sugar and need high levels of glucose to spread. It is this rapid spreading that makes this cancer so hard to treat and with flavopiridol targeting the glioblastomas metabolism it cuts off the energy supply.
Glioblastomas have the ability to reprogram their metabolism, which allows for incurable growth that moves quickly and stubbornly. But it is that stubbornness that could end up being its downfall as flavopiridol has the ability to specifically target Glioblastomas metabolic switching ability. One of the researches from the Sbarro Health Research Organization puts it this way;
"The design of new flavopiridol-based formulations, aimed at starving cancer cells [by] cutting short the sugar they're addicted to, may open up new therapeutic avenues for patients with glioblastoma,"
Flavopiridol has been used to treat all sorts of cancers in the past, the revelation here is its ability to suppress glioblastoma glucose intake. At this time scientist are busy carrying out further studies to see how it could be used as an effective treatment.