Ecstasy and anti-depressant drugs such as Prozac have the potential to stop cancer cell growth, research has found.

A University of Birmingham team tested the impact of amphetamine derivatives such as Ecstasy and weight-loss pills, and antidepressants including Prozac.

They found the drugs were effective at blocking cancer growth in more than half of lymphoma (white blood cell cancer) samples tested.

It is hoped the FASEBJ Journal study will will lead to new cancer therapies.

The study focused on 17 samples of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and multiple myeloma.

Cancer growth was slowed down in nine out of the 17 samples when they were exposed to antidepressants, and in 11 out of 17 when exposed to one or both of the amphetamine derivatives.

Researcher Professor John Gordon said: “We think that a range of psychotropic agents that are being used, or sometimes abused, for other reasons will now help us in our fight against all different types of cancer.

“We are excited that drugs like Prozac are effective in killing these types of cancer cells, as these antidepressants are in such wide circulation and have an impressive safety record.”

More here.