Suramin and CFS - Hype? Regrets? or Hope?

Blog entry posted by Lassesen, Nov 4, 2017.

This drug has become a hot topic in some CFS circles. Whenever a topic becomes hot, I try to compare it against my microbiome model. In the past, there have been a good hit rate for those that cause some improvements -- the responders appear to be those CFS patients that happen to have a specific microbiome profile.

While Suramin has been around for over a century, there have been no studies on it's impact. I can find studies on aspirin but not Suramin.

What can be inferred
"DNA-dependent RNA primase is essential for de novo primer synthesis during DNA replication in all living organisms. Bacterial DnaG primase is an attractive target for inhibition because it is essential, low in copy number and structurally distinct from eukaryotic and archaeal primases. DnaG primase is sensitive to known inhibitors including suramin and doxorubicin." [2016]

Doxorubicin Parallels
  • "However, LAB and bifidobacteria, which are key players in the intestinal microbial balance of the healthy state, might be particularly inhibited by ... gemcitabine or doxorubicin." [2016]
  • "Doxorubicin (DOX) is used as a chemotherapy drug with severe carditoxicity.....In serum, perturbed metabolites include elevation of leucine, β-glucose, O-acetyl-glycoprotein, creatine, lysine, glycerin, dimethylglycine, trimethylamine-N-oxide, myo-inositol, and N-acetyl-glycoprotein, together with level decreases of acetone, lipid, lactate, glutamate, phosphocholine, acetoacetate and pyruvate. For heart, DOX exposure caused decline of lipid, lactate, leucine, alanine, glutamate, choline, xanthine, glycerin, carnitine, and fumarate, together with elevation of glutamine, creatine, inosine, taurine and malate. Metabolic changes of kidney were mainly involved in the accumulation of α-glucose, lactate, phosphocholine, betaine, threonine, choline, taurine, glycine, urea, hypoxanthine, glutamate, and nicotinamide, coupled with reduction of asparagine, valine, methionine, tyrosine, lysine, alanine, leucine, ornithine, creatine, lipid, and acetate. " [2016] In other words -- it appears to be doing a major shift in many bacteria!
  • It does impact a different microbiome associated condition -- Autism [2017]
Side Note: Why Chemotheraphy may cause remission?
I have personally meet three different former-CFS patients that went into remission from chemotheraphy. While researching above, I came across this in one of the studies which could explain why.

  • "All 34 species of lactic acid bacteria (LAB), bifidobacteria and other intestinal bacteria proved to be resistant at the highest concentrations assayed [minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) > 128 µg/mL] to [chemotherapeutic agents] capecitabine, cyclophosphamide, docetaxel, erlotinib, gefitinib, irinotecan and paclitaxel." [2016]
Bottom Line
Prior to trials in humans with CFS, I really believe that a detail (genus level) study on it's impact of a mouse microbiome is needed (at least). This is cheap and fast to do and will fill a major gap in the existing literature on this drug.

I am particularly concerned because if something goes wrong... you can't get rid of it from your body fast:

  • "Suramin is approximately 99-98% protein bound in the serum and has a half-life of 41–78 days average of 50 days ; "
  • "The mechanism of action for suramin is unclear"
This feels like a Russian roulette drug because there is too little known about it. Reducing the risks (and better understanding why it works for autism etc) can be done by just doing some simple animal studies that could be published in months.

Recommendation: Do not become a guinea pig on insufficiently researched drug trials.

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