A team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that a type of arsenic known as trioxide works with another drug – trans retinoic acid – to make chemotherapy more effective.
Arsenic – one of the most deadly poisons – has been found to have a new use as a drug to kill cancer.
The discovery has been prompted by studies that find that in places where arsenic is found in public drinking water, breast cancer rates are lower.
Arsenic has been used to treat cancer for hundreds of years in traditional Chinese medicine.
In recent years, it has become used in chemotherapy – although its use is associated with significant risks because of its poisonous nature.
Now the researchers believe that they have found that used in combination with another drug that it is effective at knocking out a ‘master’ enzyme in cancer cells.