Repurposed cancer drug to be tested in COVID-19 Featured Image

Repurposed cancer drug to be tested in COVID-19

08 Apr 20

Repurposing existing drugs to treat COVID-19 is a strategy being widely adopted by physicians and pharmaceutical companies searching for any effective therapy against the disease.  To this end, Delaware biotech company Incyte, along with its partner Novartis, plan to test their cancer drug Jakafi as a potential treatment for the acute respiratory distress that COVID-19 can cause.

Jakafi is approved in the U.S. to treat the rare blood cancers myelofibrosis and polycythemia vera.  It works by inhibiting cellular signalling sent through regulatory proteins known as Janus kinases. The hypothesis is that by damping down such signalling it could curb the body’s pro-inflammatory response, thereby helping ease respiratory symptoms. This approach is supported by preliminary evidence from China which suggested that elevated levels of the cytokine IL-6 was associated with more severe disease and death.

Reference: BioPharma Dive

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