Cancer Drugs Show Promise in Autoimmune Disorders

Meds prevent donor organ rejection in mice
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2007 12:50 PM CDT
Cancer Drugs Show Promise in Autoimmune Disorders
Professor Charles Stegeman, shown at Haverford College on April 17, 2002, uses artwork to teach students about perception in their practice of medicine and using it to read patients and also tests, su   (KRT Photos)

(Newser) – A new kind of cancer drug may be useful in treating autoimmune disorders and preventing transplant patients' bodies from rejecting donor tissue, new research reveals. The drugs seem to promote T-cells, which help regulate the body's immune system, Reuters reports. In mice, the drugs reversed inflammatory bowel syndrome and stopped heart transplant rejections.

Histone deacetlylases inhibitors, or HDACs, are best known as cancer meds, but they also appear to "enhance the body's own immune system's ability to regulate itself," says the head researcher. The drug's rejection-suppressing ability could be particularly good news for Type 1 diabetics, whose pancreatic cell transplants often fail after a year. (Read more medicine stories.)

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