Have you heard the latest on cancer treatment? Researchers have discovered that the drug that helps addicts may help treat cancer.

The drug Naltrexone (LDN), which is used to treat addicts, can have a beneficial impact on cancer patients if it is given in low doses, says scientists at ST George’s University of London.

The research team led by Dr. Wai Liu and Professor Angus Dalgleish discovered that not only does LDN cause cancer cells to stop growing; it also alters their internal machinery, making them more likely to kill themselves. This can lead to other treatments becoming more effective.

From their findings, the drug when used in these small doses can alter the genes that regulate how a cancer cell behaves.

Dr Liu said: “Rather than stopping the cancer cells from growing, patients want to be rid of them. We saw that by giving the drug for two days, then withdrawing it, cancer cells would stop cycling and undergo cell death”

According to Science Daily, Naltrexone is at present licensed in many countries for the treatment of alcohol and heroin addiction, but the doses used is much higher than for cancer treatment.

However, it is licensed for the treatment of other illness, and patients are obtaining it ‘off label’ to treat conditions such as multiple Sclerosis and Fibromyalgia.

With discoveries as this, maybe this dreaded disease that has caused the untimely sunset of many may just be tamed and curtailed for good.


Wai Liu, Katherine Scott, Jayne Dennis, Elwira Kaminska, Alan Levett, Angus Dalgleish. Naltrexone at low doses upregulates a unique gene expression not seen with normal doses: Implications for its use in cancer therapy. International Journal of Oncology, 2016; DOI: 10.3892/ijo.2016.3567.

University of St George’s London. “Drug that helps addicts may help cancer too, say experts.” ScienceDaily, 27 June 2016.


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