Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – A study conducted by scientists from Singapore and the United States (US) states that drugs used in cancer treatment can treat Covid-19 patients who have developed severe symptoms.
Quoted Strait Times, research led by Associate Professor Ivan Marazzi from the Department of Microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai, USA involved researchers from the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS). The findings were published online in the scientific journal Cell on March 30.
They found that Topotecan, which is used in chemotherapy, reduced the severity and mortality from Covid-19 infection by suppressing inflammation in the lungs.
“With a drug used in cancer treatment for more than 25 years, it is globally available and inexpensive, with a well-understood safety profile in humans,” said research team member Dr Anand Jeyasekharan.
To re-test the drug’s effectiveness, the team will return to conducting phase one clinical trials. About 20 adult patients with the moderate form of Covid-19 and a history of cancer will be recruited. They will be given Topotecan in addition to the steroid dexamethasone and the antiviral drug remdesivir. Both are currently used to treat Covid-19.
Cancer patients are recruited because they have a higher risk of severe disease and are also familiar with the concept of chemotherapy treatment, said Dr Jeyasekharan.
“Once the correct dosage has been established in phase one, the goal is to bring this forward to all moderate Covid-19 cases, not just cancer patients.”
Trials are expected to last between three and six months, depending on how quickly suitable patients are recruited. For the location, India was chosen as the country where the test was conducted considering the high number of Covid-19 infections there.
If phase one clinical trials are successful, phase two will begin, with a larger pool of patients recruited from different countries. Additional parameters will also be tracked, such as the time it takes for the patient to leave the intensive care unit and the patient’s survival rate.
Dr Jeyasekharan added that “Reusing existing drugs is a valuable global strategy for treating Covid-19.”
“Topotecan is an attractive candidate because it is safe and inexpensive with generic formulations that exist around the world.”