Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Coming to Inconclusions

In writing my introduction, I read several papers about the surprising anticancer effects of loperamide (or Imodium, commonly.) Several labs have found that the humble antidiarrhea agent induces apoptosis and sensitizes cells to radiation and chemotherapeutic drugs by impeding NHEJ. This is a big deal! Loperamide is cheap, it's already FDA-approved, it has low toxicity, it's readily available, and it'll spare you your indigestion while you're at it.

But not so fast.

My single-replicate dose response assay begs to differ! I found that loperamide, in fact, *decreases* sensitivity to ionizing radiation.


It does seem a bit odd that an antidiarrhea drug would be an NHEJ inhibitor. Imodium works by specifically targeting epithelial cells in the digestive tract. These cells are constantly sloughing off and being replaced, and thus are among the fastest dividing cells in the body. You'd think you'd want them to have pretty darn good DNA repair.

But the scientific community doesn't seem to agree. So I and my dose response assay set off to change the world, hinting that *maybe* we should reassess our enthusiasm about loperamide the Anti-Cancer Agent just a tiny bit... or, you know, I could consider replicating my assay, say, 14 more times. I wrote twelve pages about it, with some figures to boot.

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