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Anti-cancer drug could be anti-flu too

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Although DMXAA was developed to fight cancer, researchers have found the anti-tumor agent has promising results in flu vaccines via an interferon response.

In a study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, scientists administered two doses of the DMXAA-infused vaccine to infected rats, one dose within three hours of infection and one two days later. Not only did the mice sustain a more mild illness due to the interferon response, the DMXAA vaccine was effective against Tamiflu-resistant strains as well.

"H1N1 was a wake-up call that the flu remains a very serious disease, regardless of how 'common' we may think it is," said E. John Wherry, deputy editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, in a release. "Every year this virus mutates, and history has shown us that new, very dangerous strains of this virus will continue to emerge. New drugs like this one that can combat this virus--especially drugs that are effective against newly emerging strains-may prove to be lifesaving for millions of people around the world."

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