Researchers at Kansas City University have made a breakthrough in treating pancreatic cancer by repurposing the FDA-approved drug Acipimox, originally designed to treat hyperlipidaemia.
Rather than targeting cancer cells directly, this novel approach focuses on the tumour microenvironment to weaken the cancer cells before applying conventional treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.
The study uncovered a critical role played by fatty acids in supporting pancreatic cancer cells. Fatty acids provide essential nourishment to these tumours and shield them from the damaging effects of radiation and chemotherapy.
By using Acipimox, the researchers were able to weaken cancer cells, depriving them of the support they received from their microenvironment, which made them more resilient.
Acipimox effectively halted the growth of the cancer by reducing fatty acid levels both inside and outside the cancer cells, thereby blocking their ability to replicate.
This breakthrough involved activating a metabolic checkpoint that prevents cancer cells from replicating their DNA, inhibiting their ability to divide and reproduce.
Furthermore, weakening cancer cells through this method could potentially reduce the amount of chemotherapy and radiation needed for treatment. This not only enhances the effectiveness of these therapies but also limits the toxicity and side effects experienced by normal cells, representing a significant advantage for patients.
This innovative approach of using Acipimox in the treatment of pancreatic cancer offers hope for improving outcomes in a cancer type known for its resistance to conventional treatments.