The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston will begin clinical trials on mifepristone (formerly known as RU 486 or the abortion pill) as a treatment for endometrial cancer. These are the first clinical trials on mifepristone as a cancer treatment since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug for use as an abortifacient on September 28, 2000. Researchers hope to have 37 women with progesterone dependent tumors participate in the study. The theory is that mifepristone will bind to progesterone receptors thereby prohibiting the growth of cancer cells. If mifepristone is shown to be effective, research may expand to include other types of hormone-related cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer. There is already some research suggesting mifepristone’s potential as a treatment for breast cancer.
The Feminist Majority Foundation is leading the call in the U.S. for more funding for research on mifepristone’s potential as a treatment for life-threatening diseases and gynecologic conditions. For years, clinical trials on mifepristone in the U.S. were at a standstill because of anti-abortion politics. Learn more about mifepristone and its medical promise.