Women's Health

Computer Program May Recycle Old Drugs for Ovarian Cancer

Computer Program May Recycle Old Drugs for Ovarian Cancer

Recently, a computer program has made an important discovery about an everyday painkiller and how it may benefit patients with ovarian cancer.

In a world where consumerism is at an all-time high, there has been more and more focus on the importance of recycling and conservation. Aside from recycling plastic to reusing containers so we minimize waste, it’s possible to recycle medications, too.

When it comes to the pharmaceutical industry in the modern era, there are billions on billions of dollars that go into not only the development of pills and elixirs that can help people fight off illness, but also billions spent by patients to obtain these life-changing miracle drugs. Money and resources are being spent left and right so that doctors and patients alike can ward off medical disease, so it's no wonder that recycling can be incorporated in the medical drug industry as well.

What does it mean to recycle old drugs?

No, it doesn't mean that we are sharing pills with our loved ones or reusing pills. What we mean by recycling in this situation is actually better referred to as "re-purposing". There has been new interest in the healthcare industry in taking old, approved drugs and discovering new uses for it besides what it was originally intended for. For example, did you know that some of the migraine medications available today were actually developed to treat seizure patients? The discovery that this particular seizure medication has helped improve the lives of millions who suffer from otherwise chronic, painful migraines.

Recycling, or "re-purposing", drugs can help cut time and cost

What's so great about repurposing drugs for other use? Well, it turns out that making new drugs from scratch isn't straightforward at all. It's actually extremely time-consuming and costly for the healthcare system. The average amount of years it takes to get a new drug from discovery to approval is about 14 years. That's 14 years of people's salaries who are working on the drug, as well as materials and supplies to make the experiments happen. Unfortunately, it's also incredibly important that we go through this long and arduous process to approve new drugs because drugs can be potentially toxic and dangerous for humans. And then—after all that—it might not be approved.

That's why repurposing drugs can be so helpful. When you repurpose an already FDA-approved drug, you are essentially cutting out the discovery process during which you have to ensure its safety in the use of humans. This substantially decreases the amount of time and money required to bring new treatments that can benefit patients suffering from a disease.

Repurposing drugs for ovarian cancer

Recently, a new computer program was developed that can help us find new ways to use older drugs. This program is called DrugPredict, which goes through current FDA-approved drugs and predicts effectiveness when used in other diseases.

One of the drugs it highlighted for repurposing was the non-steroidal inflammatory drugs, otherwise known as NSAIDs. These drugs are a class that includes the commonly used pain relievers known as Ibuprofen, Advil, and Motrin. Turns out that the program predicted its ability to help treat epithelial ovarian cancer. Researchers decided to take heed of this information and see for themselves whether or not the prediction was true.

Read on to learn more about this important discovery.