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Chloroquine-based drugs make cancer treatments more effective

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How too much oral sex, smoking, alcohol can cause mouth tumour, by researchers
Antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine could find another use as cancer treatments, according to a new clinical study published in ecancermedicalscience.

Researchers from the Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO) project, an international collaboration between the Anticancer Fund, Belgium, and United States of America (USA)-based GlobalCures, say there is evidence to include these drugs in further clinical investigations.

The authors are particularly excited about the potential for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as the evidence suggests they make tumour cells more sensitive to cancer treatment.

“What makes chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine so interesting is these multiple mechanisms of action,” says Ciska Verbaanderd of the Anticancer Fund and the University of Leuven, Belgium, first author of the study. “These antimalarial drugs act on both the level of cancer cells and the tumour microenvironment.” Studying this has led to interesting scientific insights in tumour biology, such as the importance of autophagy, the tumour vasculature and the immune system.”

“The results from the review lead us to believe that these antimalarial drugs could offer significant clinical benefit for certain cancer patients, especially in combination with standard anticancer treatments. This should be confirmed by additional clinical results.”

Vikas P. Sukhatme MD ScD, co-founder of GlobalCures and one of the authors of this review, added “We look forward with much anticipation to the results of the 30 or so ongoing clinical studies that use chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for cancer treatment.”

The researchers’ hope is that with the publication of this study, increased awareness of the potential applications will bring these medications out of the medicine cabinet — and into cancer care.

Previous papers from the ReDO project have explored how inexpensive, common drugs such as beta-blockers and anti-fungal remedies can be “repurposed” and used as part of cancer treatments.

Meanwhile, oral sex, smoking, drinking too much alcohol and a poor diet can all increase your risk of mouth cancer.

But do you know how much your lifestyle is raising your risk of the disease? A new test has been devised to answer that question.

Nine in ten mouth cancers are caused by preventable lifestyle factors, experts warn.

Yet the majority of Britons do not consider themselves to be at risk of mouth cancer, despite many admitting to smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, new research has shown.

Oral Health Foundation found that more than three in four (78 per cent) of adults were unaware of the effects.

Dr. Nigel Carter, chief executive of the charity said: “More than nine in ten mouth cancers are linked to lifestyle factors and the only way to curb this risk is by quitting or reducing habits such as smoking and alcohol.

“Mouth cancer is still a relatively unknown disease, with many still unaware that you are able to develop cancer on the tongue, cheeks, lips, head and neck.

“It is important to be aware that cancer could develop in this area of the body, especially if you regularly exposure yourself to lifestyle choices which have been linked with the disease.”

The survey, of more than 2,000 people, showed that almost one in five (18 per cent) of those polled smoke, while nearly half (48 per cent) drink alcohol on a regular basis.

Close to a third (31 per cent) confess to having an unhealthy diet while more than one in ten (11 per cent) have oral sex more at least once a week.

Some types of oral cancer are linked to sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV) infection in the mouth and throat.

Latest figures show the number of new mouth cancer cases each year in the UK has exceeded 7,500, an increase of more than two thirds (68 per cent) in the last 20 years.

More than 2.5 million British adults exceed the recommended 14 units of alcohol weekly while there are an estimated 8.5 million smokers.

The current lifetime risk of mouth cancer in the UK is higher for men – one in 75 – compared to women – and one in 150.

That is because males are more likely to smoke (18 per cent vs 17 per cent), are a fifth more likely to regularly consume alcohol (57 per cent vs 40 per cent).

The research shows men and are twice as likely to perform oral sex (14 per cent vs 7 per cent) compared to women.

Three signs and symptoms NOT to ignore are:

*Ulcers which do not heal in three weeks.
*Red and white patches in the mouth.
*Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head and neck area.
*If any of these are noticed, it is essential that you tell your dentist or doctor immediately.

In this article:
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