Arthritis Drug Could Be New Weapon Against Melanoma
Catherine Paddock writing in Medical News today reported that Leflunomide, brand name, Arava, a drug commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, may also inhibit the growth of malignant melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, according to new research led by the University of East Anglia (UAE) in the UK and Children’s Hospital Boston in the US. The researchers screened thousands of compounds looking for likely candidates by testing their ability to affect the development of pigment cells in tadpoles. They used tadpole pigment cells because they are similar to human melanocytes that produce melanin, the pigment that is mainly responsible for skin color. Melanoma occurs when melanocytes grow in an uncontrolled manner. Very exciting news because Arava has already been FDA approved for rheumatoid arthritis and if this research pans out, it could quickly be used to treat melanoma without the usual bureaucratic red tape.