The cancer drug Trichostatin A (TSA) can stop contractions and may point to new ways to prevent premature labor, according to English researchers.
They tested the drug on muscle tissue taken from 36 women who had cesarean sections and found that the drug increases levels of a protein that controls muscle relaxation, BBC News reported.
Specifically, the Newcastle University team found that TSA reduced contractions for spontaneously contracting tissue by an average of 46 percent and reduced contractions induced by the labor drug oxytocin by an average of 54 percent.
The drug works by increasing the levels of a protein that controls muscle relaxation.
"We will not give this drug to a patient because it can damage as many as 10% of the genes in a cell," said study leader Professor Nick Europe-Finner, BBC News reported. "But it does show us that other more specific agents that act on the same enzymes but only one at a time are worth investigating."
The study appears in the journal Cellular and Molecular Medicine.