Methadone Kills Resistant Leukemia Cells

By drug-bot · Aug 28, 2008 · Updated Aug 29, 2011 · ·
  1. drug-bot
    Methadone Kills Resistant Leukemia Cells
    Low doses of drug used to treat opioid addiction worked without toxic effects, study finds
    Posted August 1, 2008

    FRIDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Methadone, a drug used to break addiction to heroin and other opioid drugs, appears to be a potent killer of leukemia cells, a new study finds.
    "Methadone kills sensitive leukemia cells and also breaks treatment resistance, but without any toxic effects on non-leukemic blood cells," study senior author Claudia Friesen, of the Institute of Legal Medicine at the University Ulm in Germany, said in a news release issued by the American Association for Cancer Research. "We find this very exciting, because once conventional treatments have failed a patient, which occurs in old and also in young patients, they have no other options."

    The findings were published in the Aug. 1 issue of Cancer Research.
    Methadone blocks opioid receptors that exist on the surface of some cancer cells. In tests on leukemia cells in laboratory culture, methadone proved as effective as standard chemotherapies and radiation treatments against non-resistant leukemia cells. Methadone also effectively killed leukemia that was resistant to multiple chemotherapies and to radiation.
    Unlike some treatments, though, non-leukemic peripheral blood lymphocytes still survived after methadone treatment.
    Researchers found methadone activates the mitochondrial pathway within leukemia cells, which switches on enzymes called caspases. These prompt a cell into apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Chemotherapy drugs use the same approach, but methadone activated caspases in sensitive leukemia cells, and also reversed deficient activation of caspases in resistant leukemia cells.
    While the doses of methadone used to kill leukemia cells in this study were greater than those used to treat opioid addiction, the researchers have since found a lower daily dose of methadone to achieve the same effect.
    While methadone can become addictive, the habit is much easier to break than being hooked on true opioids, Friesen said.
    "Addiction shouldn't be an unsolvable problem if methadone is ever used as an anti-cancer therapy," she said.
    Studies using methadone in animal models of human leukemia are beginning, Friesen said, and others will look into whether the agent is also effective against other cancers. Another research group has already found methadone induces cell death in human lung cancer cell lines.

    thought this was very interesting, and wanted to share. swim thinks a small (low dose) methadone addicton is worth it for curing leukemia or lung cancer (as the artical briefly mentions other research already found methadone induces cell death in human lung cancer cell lines)

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  1. silenius
    Does anybody have something to back up this claim? I've read several statements by (former) H-addicts that getting off Methadone is at least as hard as getting off H, which led me to believe that the only good thing about Methadone is that addicts get clean stuff and, due to the regulated
    dispersion by pharmacists, they suddenly have time to incorporate their addiction into their life which in turn brings their life(style) closer to what most would consider socially acceptable.

    Not that I would not rather be addicted to Methadone than die of Leukemia, of course ...

    And .. which objective metric is used to evaluate how "hard" it is to get off a substance?
  2. acolon_5
    SWIM can attest to the fact that Methadone addiction is MUCH harder to break than a traditional opiate addiction. The amount of time it takes to get off of methadone is ridiculous...

    The rehab SWIM tried to go to told him to drop the methadone and get back on heroin and come back in 2-3 months! SWIM gave up and ended up breaking his own habit using poppy pods and then kratom.
  3. drug-bot
    yeah, but swim thinks thats an exceptable risk if it can help cure resistant leukemia and even lung cancer.

    off point kinda swim thinks its much harder to get off heroin cold than methadone when the dose is slowly reduced by a medical professional, but straight up comparison of cold turkey methadone vs heroin, heroin is more intense (swims opinion) but methadone lasts much longer, so its worse. even if it would mean a cold turkey detox (which it wouldnt) swim thinks its far more preferrable than dying from leukemia or lung cancer if its confirmed it would work by further testing.
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