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Cancer drugs "could have wider use"

Cancer drugs could help fight many more diseases in the future, research suggests.

The Centre for Immunology and Infection found anti-angiogenic drugs may have an impact on a host of infectious diseases, including visceral leishmaniasis - a killer of 70,000 worldwide every year.

The drugs, which work to stop the growth of blood vessels supplying cancers, can improve the structure of tissues where immune responses are generated and which are often destroyed by chronic infection.

The findings have been published online by The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The improvement in immune responses after the drug can increase the effectiveness of conventional treatments for leishmaniasis, allowing doctors to use lower doses of existing drugs that otherwise have harmful side effects.

Professor Paul Kaye, Director of the Centre for Immunology and Infection, said: "Our research also identifies ways that anti-angiogenic drugs might be used more effectively in the treatment of cancers."

The research was funded by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.

These findings have led to further research, supported by Yorkshire Cancer Research, into the potential use of anti-angiogenic drugs as a "preconditioning agent" in the treatment of melanoma.

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The Journal of Clinical Investigation