Drugs increasingly used to treat cancer could have a major impact on a wide range of infectious diseases, according to new research.
Anti-angiogenic drugs are used to try and prevent cancers from stimulating the growth of the blood vessels they need to survive and grow.
New research by the Centre for Immunology and Infection at the University of York suggests the same drugs may help in the treatment of other diseases including visceral leishmaniasis which kills 70,000 people worldwide every year.
The findings, published online March 15 by the Journal of Clinical Investigation, show that anti-angiogenic drugs can improve the structure of tissues where immune responses are generated and which are often destroyed by chronic infection or inflammation.
The resulting improvement in the immune response can increase the effectiveness of conventional treatments for leishmaniasis, allowing doctors to use lower doses of existing drugs that otherwise have harmful side effects.
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