Cancer Drug Can Mitigate COVID-19-Induced Organ Damage

Cancer Drug Can Mitigate COVID-19-Induced Organ Damage

United States: COVID infections come along with various health problems, one of which is organ damage; however, a new study has outlined that a drug against cancer can cure organ damage due to SARS-CoV-2.

The drug is scientifically named as eganelisib. The drug consists of PI3K gamma – an immune system enzyme that is used to damage cancerous tumors. The study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine revealed that lab research has unveiled that the drug can also help suppress organ-damaging inflammation due to COVID-19 infection, according to reports by CIDRAP News.

COVID-19 is widely recognized as a respiratory illness, but severe cases can also inflict damage on the heart, gastrointestinal system, kidneys, brain, and nervous system. This extensive damage is a significant factor in long-term COVID, a debilitating condition where symptoms persist for months or even years after the initial infection.

The P13K gamma enzyme prompts a type of white blood cell known as myeloid cells to inundate tumor tissue, leading to inflammation that exacerbates cancer, researchers have discovered.

Myeloid cells are designed to act swiftly in eliminating potentially lethal bacteria and viruses, including the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19, according to researchers, as per CIDRAP.

However, these cells can cause significant harm if the immune system mounts an excessive response to a severe infection, explained Judith Varner, a senior researcher and professor of pathology and medicine at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

While elaborating the matter, Varner in a press release mentioned, “If you have a little infection, myeloid cells come in, kill bacteria, release alerts that recruit even more potent killer immune cells, and produce substances that can heal the damage.”

The experts further added, “But if you get an infection that’s too strong, you get overproduction of these alert signals, and the substances they release to kill these infective agents can also kill yourself. That’s what happens in COVID-19.”

Tests by health experts!

The tests conducted in lab have mentioned that eganelisib can help in reducing the damage to human tissues. While explaining the same, Varner stated, “We sequenced COVID-19 patient lung tissue and showed that when patients have COVID-19, a lot of their lung cells are killed and there’s a huge increase in myeloid cells. We also found the same thing in infected mice,” as highlighted by CIDRAP.

The reports further quoted the health expert saying, “When we treated with the drug, we showed that eganelisib prevents entry of myeloid cells into tissue, so they can’t do all that damage. Further studies will determine if it can actually reverse the damage.”

Furthermore, the researchers explained the mechanism of the drug. As per them, eganelisib directly targets the immune system of the infected person and as of now no other drug has shown such approach towards treating the infection. It is to be noted that the drugs used to cure COVID-19, currently just targets the virus either by preventing infection or inhibiting in spread of the virus, as per CIDRAP.

Eganelisib and its approval!

The drug has not received approval by the US Food and Drug Administration but it has received fast-track designation in the year 2020.

Future scope of Eganelisib

The expert has anticipated that the drug makers will develop PI3K gamma inhibitors, which can assist in treating infectious diseases such as MRSA and COVID. Varner was quoted saying, as per CIDRAP, “We hope that this research will help us obtain funding to continue investigating this approach in other disease settings.”

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