Well known breast cancer drug Tamoxifen can give a boost to the pathogen slaying abilities of the WBC. Researchers with the University Of California, along with San Diego School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences have discovered that breast cancer drug Tamoxifen aids the white blood cell to kill pathogens in laboratory experiments. The silver lining in the latest studies is that Tamoxifen treatment in Mice also leads to the clearance of antibiotic resistant bacteria MRSA and also decreased mortality.
Multi Drug Resistant Bacteria has graduated from chance occurrence to become a very evident threat. With scientists fast running out of new antibiotics, there was a need to relook at older medicines which have infection fighting characteristics and has been adjudged safe for human use.
Following these route researchers discovered that Tamoxifen had properties of boosting the immune system in cases where the patient is immune compromised and other antibiotics have failed. Tamoxifen zeroes on to estrogen receptor and making it effective against breast cancers. However research has revealed that Tamoxifen has other properties also. Tamoxifen affects the way cells harvest fatty molecules termed sphingolipids. One such sphingolipids is ceramide which has a role to play in controlling the working of WBC known as neutrophils. This made the scientists wonder if administering Tamoxifen will have an impact on neutrophil behaviour.
To test this out researchers nurtured human neutrophils with Tamoxifen. On comparing it with normal neutrophils they discovered that the Tamoxifen treated neutrophils were more adept in phagocytosing, or swallowing bacteria. The researchers discovered that Tamoxifen-treated neutrophils created three times more neutrophils extracellular traps (NETs) which are used by the cells to enmesh and destroy pathogens. Researchers also tested Tamoxifen’s immune boosting properties in mouse model. The researchers infected the mice with MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).MRSA is also known as Superbug and is giving sleepless nights to health authorities and is a great concern to human health. The researchers found that Tamoxifen significantly protected mice.