Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Residual tumor cells are a barrier to targeted cancer therapeutics

05.01.2005


Over the past five years, so-called molecularly targeted therapies for cancer have held out great promise. These therapies are based on blocking a cancer-causing genetic pathway that has been turned on in a tumor, thereby allowing it to proliferate and grow in an uncontrolled manner. For a small number of cancers, chronic treatment with molecularly targeted therapies has been shown to be effective in the clinic – at least in the short-term. Recently, based on animal models, several investigators have proposed that chronic treatment – possibly even brief treatment – with molecularly targeted therapies might eliminate cancers. Curing cancers with short-term treatment, however, contrasts sharply with clinical experience with cancer patients, say Penn researchers. This suggests that tumors often become resistant to therapy by finding a way around the genetic blockade.



Using a model for breast cancer, researchers in the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute of the University of Pennsylvania report that after blocking the gene c-MYC, which is commonly overexpressed in human breast cancers, the tumor still persists. Senior author Lewis A. Chodosh, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Departments of Cancer Biology and Medicine, and colleagues report their findings in the December issue of Cancer Cell.

Specifically, the group found that after turning off c-MYC in a mouse model, 50 percent of c-MYC-induced mammary cancers were still able to grow. They also found that residual cancer cells persisted in all animals – even those that were seemingly cancer-free. These residual cells quickly recovered their malignant properties either spontaneously or after the researchers reactivated MYC. Additionally, by sequentially turning the MYC gene on and off in these tumors in order to simulate the treatment of patients with multiple rounds of a molecularly targeted therapy, the investigators found that nearly every tumor eventually progressed to a state that was no longer dependent upon MYC for growth.


With these experiments, Chodosh and colleagues demonstrated that small numbers of breast cancer cells that remain following targeted therapy provide a means for cancers to escape and eventually recur. When tumors shrink in response to therapy, they leave residual cells that ultimately give rise to recurrences. Furthermore, if the targeted oncogene becomes reactivated in those cells, they grow into full-blown tumors very quickly. "Any way you look at it, when physicians apply a selective pressure to a tumor by blocking an oncogenic pathway, cells escape," says Chodosh. "They find a back door and progress to a more aggressive state that becomes independent of that pathway."

Chodosh concludes that the type of genetically engineered mouse models used in these MYC studies yield results that are very similar to what is observed in patients and that molecular therapies will likely need to be applied chronically to prevent the regrowth of residual tumor cells that remain after therapy. He further emphasizes that molecularly targeted therapies will need to be combined with agents that target secondary pathways of tumor escape in order to achieve lasting cures.

Karen Kreeger | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>