Leflunomide, a drug to treat rheumatoid arthritis, could inhibit the growth of malignant melanoma. Melanoma is a cancer of pigment cells in our skin.

Dr. Grant, a scientist UAE Wheeler, and Dr Matt Tomlinson performed an analysis of thousands of compounds, to find the most influential in the development of pigment cells.

They identified several compounds that affect the pigment cells. They found leflunomide significantly limit tumor growth in mice.

When leflunomide combined with PLX4720, the effect is even stronger, almost the entire block tumor growth.

Clinical trials in the use of leflunomide for the fight against melanoma. This process is expected more quickly than usual, so that new treatments for melanoma are expected to be available in about five years.

"This is an exciting discovery by using existing drugs, particularly for melanoma," said Dr Grant Wheeler, from the UEA School of Biological Sciences.

"Deaths from melanoma skin cancer is increasing more effective treatment is needed. This research will lead to new methods for melanoma tumors in combination with other therapies and be able to stop this disease," said Dr Grant Wheeler. Research published in the Nature Journal, March 24 .


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