Anti-Leprosy Drug Shows Promise as Multiple Myeloma Treatment

Although several drugs are used to treat multiple myeloma (MM), a research team at Wake Forest Baptist Health may have found an effective new drug.

Mikhail A. Nikiforov, PhDLed by Mikhail A. Nikiforov, PhD, professor of cancer biology, the scientists reported in The Journal of Clinical Investigation that they identified a drug currently used to treat leprosy and tuberculosis as a potential new therapy for MM patients.

Through a review of a virtual drug database, Nikiforov’s team identified clofazimine as a potent aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) inhibitor and a suppressor of polyamine production. The team found that, in an animal model, clofazimine was highly effective and comparable to bortezomib, a drug currently used to treat MM.

In a commentary published in the journal, Robert A. Casero Jr., PhD, of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, characterized this new finding as “intriguing and provides promise for moving such a strategy to the clinic.”

MM is an incurable type of blood cancer that affects plasma cells in the bone. Approximately 100,000 Americans are believed to have the disease.

Read the news release.

Research Funding
Research reported was supported by the following grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

Anti-leprosy Drug Shows Promise as Multiple Myeloma Treatment: NIH grants CA220096, CA224434, CA193981 and CA190533; a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award F32CA189622; NIH grants CA197996, 1F99CA21245501, R01AI100157 and R01CA121044; the Jennifer Linscott Tietgen Foundation; and in part by a National Cancer Institute Cancer Center Support Grant P30CA16056 to the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, for the Clinical Data Network and the Animal Facility.