Parasite payback

Leishmania might be vulnerable to a common anticancer drug

By Nathan Seppa, 13:57 PM June 10, 2008

The breast cancer drug tamoxifen kills the single-celled parasite known as leishmania, a scourge common in the tropics, Brazilian scientists report. While the tests in mice are preliminary, the finding is heartening because few good treatments for leishmaniasis exist, says Silvia Uliana, a physician at the University of São Paulo.

Several species of these protozoa cause the disease leishmaniasis, marked by skin ulcers or deadly liver and spleen damage. It is spread by sand fli...

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