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Infectious disease



Cell culture and mouse studies suggest selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) could help treat Ebola virus infection. In a high throughput, cell-based screen of approved drugs, estrogen receptor antagonists showed the strongest Ebola antiviral activity. In a mouse model for Ebola virus infection, the SERMs clomiphene or toremifene increased survival compared with vehicle. In cells lacking the estrogen receptor, clomiphene and toremifene inhibited Ebola virus infection, suggesting the drugs do not act through the estrogen signaling pathway. Next steps include further evaluation of the compounds in mouse and nonhuman primate infection models.
Orion Corp. and Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co. Ltd. market Fareston toremifene citrate to treat breast cancer.
Clomiphene is a generic used to treat female infertility.

SciBX 6(28); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.725
Published online July 25, 2013

Patented; available for licensing from Zalicus Inc.

Johansen, L.M. et al. Sci. Transl. Med.; published online June 19, 2013;
Contact: Lisa M. Johansen, Zalicus Inc., Cambridge, Mass.
Contact: Gene G. Olinger, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Frederick, Md.