Ecstasy could be used to cure cancer after scientists modified the drug to increase its tumour-killing properties.
Researchers from Birmingham University claimed the designer drug, also known as MDMA, could be used to treat leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma after making it 100 times more effective at suppressing growth.
Ecstasy was already known to be effective against more than half of white blood cell cancers, but previously the large dose required to treat a tumour would also have killed the patient.
In a study published in the Investigational New Drugs journal, the scientists said the new drug could be used by doctors to treat cancer if it can be produced in a safe form.
Lead author Professor John Gordon said: “This is an exciting next step towards using a modified form of MDMA to help people suffering from blood cancer.
“While we would not wish to give people false hope, the results of this research hold the potential for improvement in treatments in years to come.”
“Although survival rates for leukaemia have improved over the past thirty years new approaches to treatment are still needed to tackle this disease even more effectively.”