New Delhi, September 16: Drugs developed to fight HIV can be effectively used to slow the growth of cancer cells, researchers in the US have found.
A group of researchers in the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, noticed that the toxic effects the HIV virus has on cells was similar to that seen in cancerous cells.

Nelfinavir -- a drug used against HIV -- is being tested on patients with a range of cancers in light of new evidence found by Phillip Dennis and his co-workers, according to a report in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

Dennis and his team tried six approved HIV drugs on a wide variety of cancer cells grown in the lab and on mice injected with cancer cells, of which three significantly slowed the growth of tumour cells and cell death.

The most effective of the three, Nelfinavir, caused maximum decrease in the activity of protein-degrading enzymes in the cells and blocked tumour growth in mice injected with cancer cells.