Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas have been conducting rigorous testing on a drug found in the dirt among the Moai statues on Easter Island back in the 1970s – Rapamycin, the “cancer fighter”.
Previously used only as a fungicide, Rapamycin is now also noted for its anti-cancer and immunosuppressive properties, making it especially useful among transplant patients. A few years ago, Dr. Z. Dave Sharp, professor of molecular medicine, UT Health Science Center, came up with the idea of Rapamycin being able to extend life. His idea, although initially met with many doubts, shows promise in findings from laboratory testing on mice.
According to WFMZ-TV’s Health Beat:
“The mice that got Rapamycin appeared to have their cancers prevented,” said Dr. Tyler Curiel, professor of medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Now, doctors are giving mice cancer-causing chemicals. The idea is to find out if the drug is boosting their immunity, so their immune systems can kill cancer cells as soon as they appear.
“There’s a lot of evidence that it boosts your immunity,” Curiel said.
If it really does prevent the disease in mice, “perhaps, eventually, people will be able to take this drug,” said Sharp.
The National Cancer Institute has given the study a two-year, $450,000 grant. According to Dr. Curiel, once Rapamycin’s ability to prevent cancer in mice has been confirmed, human trials should be approved in two years. For more information on this study, visit http://www.wfmz.com/blob/view/-/19454830/data/1/-/jpjc0iz/-/Research-summary—Dirty–cancer-fighter–Medicine-s-next-big-thing.pdf.