Researchers from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, have shown the efficacy of an alternative drug against Leishmania amazonensis, one of the species that causes cutaneous leishmaniasis in South America. Details, published June 11th in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, explain how tamoxifen – a medication widely used in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer – fights the parasitic disease in experimentally infected mice.
Unicellular parasites of Leishmania genus are the causative agents of leishmaniasis. Treatment of leishmaniasis requires the administration of toxic and poorly tolerated drugs. Having previously demonstrated that tamoxifen was active against parasites in vitro, the authors now show its efficacy in a rodent model of infection with L. amazonensis.
The Brazilian group, led by Silvia Uliana, observed that infected mice treated with 20 mg/kg/day of tamoxifen for 2 weeks showed a significant reduction in parasite burden. Researchers also detected a notable delay in the development of skin ulcers, a typical symptom of the disease caused by L. amazonensis.
The promising results presented in this study, coupled with the fact that tamoxifen's safety and pharmacological profiles in humans are well established, point to a new alternative in the treatment of leishmaniasis. Further trials will be necessary in other experimental models of infection before the drug is tested in humans.
PLEASE ADD THIS LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://www.plosntds.org/doi/pntd.0000249 (link will go live on Wednesday, June 11)
CITATION: Miguel DC, Yokoyama-Yasunaka JKU, Uliana SRB (2008) Tamoxifen Is Effective in the Treatment of Leishmania amazonensis Infections in Mice. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2(6): e249. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000249
This press release refers to an upcoming article in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. The release is provided by the article authors. Any opinions expressed in these releases or articles are the personal views of the journal staff and/or article contributors, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of PLoS. PLoS expressly disclaims any and all warranties and liability in connection with the information found in the releases and articles and your use of such information.
About PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases (http://www.plosntds.org/) is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal devoted to the pathology, epidemiology, prevention, treatment, and control of the neglected tropical diseases, as well as public policy relevant to this group of diseases. All works published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases are open access, which means that everything is immediately and freely available subject only to the condition that the original authorship and source are properly attributed. The Public Library of Science uses the Creative Commons Attribution License, and copyright is retained by the authors.
About the Public Library of Science
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. For more information, visit http://www.plos.org.
AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.