SUBA™ itraconazole - a super generic anti-fungal drug - is now being examined as a potential anti-cancer drug.

Dr Joel Tyndall, a senior lecturer in medicinal chemistry at the School of Pharmacy, says a US study recently screened a range of drugs for anti-cancer properties and itraconazole, the active pharmaceutical in Subazole™, was one of those to stand out.

"Itraconazole has the ability to inhibit angiogenesis, which is the development of the blood vessels that feed the tumour."

Tyndall says the project came from an unexpected discussion he had with Dr Roger Aston, the head of Halcygen Pharmaceuticals which produces SUBA™ itraconazole.

"He was interested in testing the American research and knew I was already involved in other cancer projects dealing with brain tumours, cervical and breast cancers."

Tyndall is working with Professor Andy Mercer, Dr Lyn Wise and Nicky Real from the Virus Research Unit (Department of Microbiology and Immunology) to understand how the drug appears to inhibit the development of the endothelial cells that line new blood vessels.

They have already carried out in vitro studies and are looking at animal models as the next stage. Itraconazole can be formed into several isomers, or structures, to create different forms of the same molecule and they want to test several of those isomers.

Tyndall says finding new ways to use existing drugs can speed the research process. "If the drug is already on the market you don't have to go through as many hoops to get approval for its use."


Halcygen Pharmaceuticals