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Antidepressant enhances chemotherapy drug

TEL AVIV, Israel, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Researchers in Israel say a popular antidepressant enhances the effect of an anticancer drug used with colon cancer.

The Tel Aviv University study validates that the antidepressant with the chemical name fluoxetine and the trade name of Prozac regularly prescribed to ease the emotional pain of those with cancer also helps enhance the effect of the colon cancer drug doxorubicin by more than 1,000 percent.

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Prozac worked to block the cancer drug from leaving the interior of the cancer cell and poisoning the healthy non-cancerous cells that surrounded it.

"The good news is that the medical community won't have to wait -- Prozac can be used for this purpose right away," Dr. Dan Peer, the study leader, said in a statement. "Working with a major drug developer, we have validated Prozac's potential, and now Tel Aviv University can lead a humanitarian effort to save lives around the globe."

The findings, published in Cancer Letters, suggest that pairing Prozac with chemotherapeutic drugs to curb drug resistance warrants further clinical study.

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