COLLEGE STATION Meclizine, an over-the-counter drug used for decades to treat nausea and motion sickness, has the potential for new uses to treat certain infectious diseases and some forms of cancer, according to Dr. Vishal M. Gohil, Texas A&M AgriLife Research biochemist.
"Clearly this drug has many potential new applications," Gohil said. "And now that we know its new target within the cell, we can start to explore ways of using it to treat other diseases. We can 'repurpose' this drug."
The research on meclizine appears in the current online version of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
"We found a particular enzyme which is inhibited by meclizine has been proposed (in other research) to be a drug target for the treatment of many diseases, including infectious diseases like malaria and African sleeping sickness," Gohil said. "And this pathway has also been proposed to be a critical pathway for the proliferation of cancer cells."
Gohil said his research, which included collaboration with scientists at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Rochester and the University of Guelph, had already shown that the drug also works in the treatment of heart attack and stroke.
Meclizine is an antihistamine, synthesized in the 1950s and later found to be useful for treating nausea, motion sickness and vertigo.
Gohil, who also is an assistant professor of biochemistry and biophysics at Texas A&M University, said he started working on the compound when he identified it in a drug-screening experiment aimed at discovering compounds or drugs that inhibit mitochondrial respiration, a process that provides energy to cells.
Mitochondria are structures found in the cells of all eukaryotes, organisms with one or more cells containing a nuclei and organelles that perform specific tasks. Enclosed in membrane, mitochondria
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