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Finding New Purpose

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A new study in Nature Medicine shows that the anti-depressant tranylcypromine — an MAO inhibitor sold commercially as Parnate — could be used as part of a combination therapy to treat acute myeloid leukemia, reports the PsychCentral blog. All-trans-retinoic acid is used to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia, but hasn't been effective for the more common types of AML, an incongruity that puzzled the researchers. Now, the team says, the new study shows that the molecular pathway that all-trans-retinoic acid targets is dormant in AML cells, which means the drugs have no target to attack and therefore don't work, PsychCentral says. But the tranylcypromine switches this pathway back on, making the cancer cells susceptible to the cancer treatment.

The team has started a Phase II clinical trial of this drug combination in AML patients, the blog adds.

The Scan

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.

Study Points to Benefits of Local Consolidative Therapy, Targeted Treatments in Cancer Care

In JCO Precision Oncology, researchers report that local consolidative therapy combined with molecularly targeted treatments could improve survival for some lung cancer patients.

Genetic Variants That Lower LDL Cholesterol Linked to Reduced Heart Disease Risk

Rare variants in two genes that lower LDL cholesterol are also associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease, according to a new JAMA Cardiology study.

Study Links Evolution of Longevity, Social Organization in Mammals

With the help of comparative phylogenetics and transcriptomics, researchers in Nature Communications see ties between lifespan and social organization in mammals.