Methotrexate may prove an effective treatment for polycythaemia vera, British researchers have reported.
The treatment has so far been used successfully on laboratory mice.
The potential use of the drug was discovered at Sheffield University, UK.
Researchers had been searching for ways of controlling JAK/STAT signalling, which goes awry in the development of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs).
The research showed that methotrexate was a 'potent' suppressor of this process in human cells.
Researcher Dr Martin Zeidler said: 'We have now shown pretty conclusively that we can use this approach to treat mouse models of human MPNs, results which provide a much more tangible prospect of success in humans.
'Repurposing methotrexate has the potential to provide a new, molecularly targeted treatment for MPN patients within a budget accessible to health care systems throughout the world – a development that may ultimately provide substantial clinical and health economic benefits.'
Source: Low-dose methotrexate in myeloproliferative neoplasm models. Haematologica May 2017 (ahead of print); doi:10.3324/haematol.2017.165738
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