A recent study in the journal Investigational New Drugs indicates that the drug ecstasy may be an important tool in combating cancers of the blood.
It’s been known for some time that MDMA, better known as ecstasy or “E,” kills certain cancer cells. But originally the doses needed to be useful against those illnesses—specifically leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma —were fatal to humans. Researchers in the UK and Australian have modified ecstasy, though, to increase its cancer-fighting ability to the point where a single 1g pill can do the job of 100 unaltered pills without posing a serious health risk.
Currently it’s only been proven in test tubes—animal testing and clinical human trials still need to be done before the modified drug brought to market, perhaps in as far off as ten years.
Dr David Grant, scientific director of the charity Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, says that many types of lymphoma are hard to treat and the drugs that are available are toxic and present numerous side-effects. “Further work is required, he says, “but this research is a significant step forward in developing a potential new cancer drug.”
Yeah, but are patients still at risk for grinding their teeth, rubbing strangers backs and telling everyone they love them?
Images via DEA, Rodrigo Favera