Antipsychotic Drug Fights Leukemia in Model

Strategies that identify new uses for existing drugs have grown in popularity in recent years as a way of quickly developing new disease therapies. Zebrafish models are cost-effective platforms for rapidly conducting drug screens as well as basic stem cell, genetic, cancer and developmental research.

The study provides a prime example of finding new uses for older drugs. The findings also suggest that developing drugs that activate PP2A while avoiding perphenazine's psychotropic effects could help clinicians make much-needed headway against T-cell ALL and perhaps other tumors as well.

T-cell ALL, or T-ALL, is rarer and more aggressive than the B-cell form of ALL and has a relatively poor prognosis. Despite improvements in the treatments available, 20% of children and more than 50%of adults diagnosed with T-ALL succumb to it.

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Source: Drug Discovery and Development

A 50-year-old antipsychotic drug can combat a difficult-to-treat form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in zebrafish, according to new a study led by Harvard Medical School researchers. The drug, perphenazine, works by turning on a cancer-suppressing enzyme called PP2A and causing malignant tumor cells to self-destruct.