A breast cancer drug to fight fungal disease?

February 11, 2014

The drug tamoxifen appears to kill a fungus associated with a deadly brain infection that afflicts HIV/AIDS patients, according to a University of Rochester study published online today by mBio, the journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

The findings, by Damian J. Krysan, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology at the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry, point to an example of Rochester researchers looking to repurpose older drugs by discovering new applications for secondary properties of the drug. In this case, investigators found that tamoxifen can interfere with a protein, calmodulin, allowing it to kill the cryptocuccus germ. Making modifications to tamoxifen in the laboratory also boosted its ability to work as an anti-fungal.

Cryptococcus is responsible for about 1 million new infections and 620,000 annual deaths worldwide. It appears in the brain as either pneumonia or meningoencephalitis. No substantial improvements in treatment have occurred in a half-century.

Additional animal experiments are needed, Krysan said, before scientists can design clinical trials or develop new anti-cryptococcal drugs based on the tamoxifen findings. Meanwhile, a group of cancer researchers led by Mark Noble, Ph.D., professor of Biomedical Genetics at the University of Rochester, has shown with preclinical data that tamoxifen - which is usually prescribed to treat early-stage, less-aggressive breast cancer in premenopausal women - might also work for more aggressive, triple-negative disease, or on brain cancer.
-end-
Krysan's research was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

University of Rochester Medical Center

Related Brain Articles from Brightsurf:

Glioblastoma nanomedicine crosses into brain in mice, eradicates recurring brain cancer
A new synthetic protein nanoparticle capable of slipping past the nearly impermeable blood-brain barrier in mice could deliver cancer-killing drugs directly to malignant brain tumors, new research from the University of Michigan shows.

Children with asymptomatic brain bleeds as newborns show normal brain development at age 2
A study by UNC researchers finds that neurodevelopmental scores and gray matter volumes at age two years did not differ between children who had MRI-confirmed asymptomatic subdural hemorrhages when they were neonates, compared to children with no history of subdural hemorrhage.

New model of human brain 'conversations' could inform research on brain disease, cognition
A team of Indiana University neuroscientists has built a new model of human brain networks that sheds light on how the brain functions.

Human brain size gene triggers bigger brain in monkeys
Dresden and Japanese researchers show that a human-specific gene causes a larger neocortex in the common marmoset, a non-human primate.

Unique insight into development of the human brain: Model of the early embryonic brain
Stem cell researchers from the University of Copenhagen have designed a model of an early embryonic brain.

An optical brain-to-brain interface supports information exchange for locomotion control
Chinese researchers established an optical BtBI that supports rapid information transmission for precise locomotion control, thus providing a proof-of-principle demonstration of fast BtBI for real-time behavioral control.

Transplanting human nerve cells into a mouse brain reveals how they wire into brain circuits
A team of researchers led by Pierre Vanderhaeghen and Vincent Bonin (VIB-KU Leuven, Université libre de Bruxelles and NERF) showed how human nerve cells can develop at their own pace, and form highly precise connections with the surrounding mouse brain cells.

Brain scans reveal how the human brain compensates when one hemisphere is removed
Researchers studying six adults who had one of their brain hemispheres removed during childhood to reduce epileptic seizures found that the remaining half of the brain formed unusually strong connections between different functional brain networks, which potentially help the body to function as if the brain were intact.

Alcohol byproduct contributes to brain chemistry changes in specific brain regions
Study of mouse models provides clear implications for new targets to treat alcohol use disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Scientists predict the areas of the brain to stimulate transitions between different brain states
Using a computer model of the brain, Gustavo Deco, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, and Josephine Cruzat, a member of his team, together with a group of international collaborators, have developed an innovative method published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept.

Read More: Brain News and Brain Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.