An anti-cancer drug stimulates the immune system to fight infection

Scientists from the University of Emory have found that small doses of an anti-cancer drug imatinib can cause the bone marrow to produce more immune cells to fight bacterial infections.

Anticancer drug helps to fight infections in people with weakened immunity
According to the study, the preparation imatinib or its analogs can be useful in the treatment of various types of infections, including including those that have become resistant to antibiotics, or are not amenable to treatment in patients with weakened immune system. The study was carried out on mice and human bone marrow cells under laboratory conditions. Scientists have received information on the necessary doses of the drug in the framework of a new vector of application.

"We believe that low doses of imatinib mimic the situation of emergency hematopoiesis - a typical initial reaction to infection, - the senior author of research Daniel Kalman (Daniel Kalman), the doctor of sciences, the professor of a pathology and laboratory medicine.

Imatinib is used as a "targeted therapy" for certain cancers. The drug blocks the enzyme tyrosine kinase, whose work is impaired in cancer, chronic myelogenous leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumors.

Imatinib also inhibits the activity of the normal forms of this enzyme in healthy cells. It is known that bacteria and viruses use these enzymes when they enter the cell and back.

Researchers have previously found that imatinib prevents the infection of cells with pathogenic microorganisms, the mechanism of action of which is very different from each other. For example, bacteria tuberculosis and the Ebola virus. A new study showed that imatinib stimulates the immune system to fight various bacteria that do not even use the tyrosine kinase enzyme. The drug causes the bone marrow to produce more neutrophils and macrophages to cure bacterial infection.

"This discovery was surprising, as there were reports that in some patients imatinib lowered the work of immunity says Kalman. - The data obtained suggest that at subclinical doses, imatinib can stimulate bone marrow stem cells to produce several types of myeloid cells, such as neutrophils and macrophages, and to provoke their escape beyond the bone marrow the brain. But in higher doses, the drug suppresses this process. "

Imatinib stimulates the production of leukocytes that can limit the inflammatory process, and not only increase the number of neutrophils that may be dangerous. The use of the drug will be particularly useful in the treatment of infections in patients who have a weakened immune system, for example, during chemotherapy courses.

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