Researchers in Brazil have discovered a new effect of a drug widely used as a chemotherapeutic agent and offered to patients free of charge by SUS, the national health service.
Paclitaxel is prescribed for the treatment of breast, lung and ovarian cancer, as well as other types of tumors. It is known to act as an antineoplastic agent, inhibiting the growth of abnormal tissue due to cell proliferation. The new study shows that it can also reactivate the patient’s immune response, thus combating the tumor on two fronts.
In an article published in the journal Cancer Research, scientists at the Center for Research in Inflammatory Diseases – CRID, a Research, Innovation, and Dissemination Center – RIDC, funded by São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP, and the Federal University of Ceará (UFC) describe how the drug reactivates the innate immune response.
Previous studies reported immunostimulatory effects of paclitaxel in rodents. It is also known that macrophages, important cells of the immune system, are able to adopt two major phenotypes: M1, with proinflammatory and antitumor properties, and M2, with anti-inflammatory and protumor effects. By combining these profiles, the new study shows that paclitaxel can act as a modulator of the immune
Article originally posted at