Vaginal atrophy drug may fight cancer

Nov. 2, 2005 at 4:52 PM

DAVIS, Calif., Nov. 2 (UPI) -- A tamoxifen-like drug now in clinical testing to treat vaginal atrophy may also help prevent breast cancer, California and Finnish researchers say.

The researchers said two mice studies found that ospemifine may fight cancer in addition to reducing vaginal atrophy, a condition that affects up to 40 percent of post-menopausal women.

University of California-Davis researcher Michael DeGregorio said he and Risto Lammintausta of Finland's Hormos Medical Corp. spent 20 years "to find a drug that would have beneficial effects in healthy, post-menopausal women but be absolutely safe."

"We're gratified that this seems to be the case," DeGregorio said.

Ospemifine is being developed by Michigan-based Quatri Pharmaceuticals. It is similar to but distinct from tamoxifen, which halves women's breast cancer risk but increases the risk of endometrial cancer, he said.

Research showing ospemifine as a breast cancer fighter was published in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the online edition of Breast Cancer Research.

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