Cancer drug Tamoxifen could help fight MRSA, one of the most dangerous superbugs known as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.
MRSA is one of the most resilient superbugs. No known treatment is effective in fighting it and no antibiotic can kill it. Once infected, a patient can develop symptoms ranging from mild to the extremely complicated which may lead to limb loss and even death.
Numerous attempts to find an effective treatment have met a dead-end. However, until new drugs are developed to counter MRSA, medical researchers are also looking at how approved treatments may also be used in fighting the superbug.
As such, a team of researchers with the University of California-San Diego have turned their attention to cancer drug Tamoxifen. Tamoxifen is used both as a preventive drug for cancer, as well as for treating the disease. The drug is particularly effective with fighting breast cancer due to its anti-estrogen releasing compounds.
However, a side-effect of Tamoxifen is enhances an excessive production of neutrophil extracellular traps. These act as the main barrier against infections in our body. Their aberrant production, as the process is called in the study plays a key role in fending off infections. As such, the Tamoxifen was tested with mice to understand how it works in the case of MRSA and if the excessive production of the neutrophil extracellular traps could help fend off the superbug.
The mice in the study were injected with the MRSA superbug and then administered the cancer drug Tamoxifen. It was Tamoxifen that increased the mice’s survival chances by a third.
Against this background, the researchers believe they have solid ground to continue testing the effects of the cancer drug on MRSA.
Yearly, there are 11,000 deaths due to MRSA infection registered in the U.S., with another 80,000 invasive infections reported, according to the CDC.
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