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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 August 2007, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
Schizophrenia drug 'kills cancer'
Researcher (pic: Eyewire, Inc.)
Rimcazole works against a broad range of cancers
A schizophrenia drug developed at Dundee University is to be tested as a new cancer treatment.

Ground-breaking research has revealed Rimcazole can also be used to fight cancer.

Scientists have discovered it restricts the growth of tumours and kills cancer cells, but has little toxic effect on healthy tissue.

Clinical trials will get under way later this year, with conclusive results expected within two years.

Researchers said Rimcazole appeared to work against a broad range of cancers, including those that are resistant to existing drugs.

Dr Barbara Spruce, who led the research at Dundee University, said it looked like a particularly promising cancer treatment.

Our results lead us to believe that Rimcazole will produce good anti-tumour effects while, crucially, sparing healthy cells.
Dr Barbara Spruce

She said: "One of the major problems with cancerous cells is that their ability to commit the normal process of 'cell suicide' or 'apoptosis' is reduced.

"Apoptosis is a natural self-defence mechanism designed to rid the body of rogue or damaged cells.

"If apoptosis fails, flawed cells survive when they shouldn't and this includes cancerous cells.

"Rimcazole appears to restore apoptosis to cancerous cells, causing them to self-destruct but without doing so in normal cells.

"Our results lead us to believe that Rimcazole will produce good anti-tumour effects while, crucially, sparing healthy cells."

Researchers hope to have evidence within two years that Rimcazole can be used as an effective cancer treatment.

The lengthy testing process has been shortened because the drug has already been subjected to rigorous trials as a treatment for schizophrenia.

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