To test the ability of the combined therapy in treating cancerous tumors, senior author Wafik S. El-Deiry, MD, PhD, and colleagues administered TRAIL, a tumor necrosis factor, and sorafenib, an inhibitor currently used to treat renal cancer, to mice with colon carcinomas. The sorafenib and TRAIL therapy reduced the size of tumors in mice with few side effects, demonstrating the potential effectiveness of the combined treatment on human colon cancers.
"Cancer cells will do whatever it takes to survive in harsh environments," explains El-Deiry, Professor of Medicine, Genetics, and Pharmacology. To kill hearty cancer cells, El-Deiry and other scientists are working on ways to alter them so they become more susceptible to cell death.
In ongoing clinical trials, doctors are giving cancer patients extra doses of TRAIL (TNF-a-related apoptosis-inducing ligand), a molecule naturally produced by the body's immune system that promotes cell death, to help kill off cancer cells. While TRAIL-based therapy is promising, over 50 percent of all cancer cells show resistance to TRAIL. To create a more potent form of targeted cancer therapy, El-Deiry's research team began searching for ways to reverse TRAIL resistance in cancer cells.
Recently, El-Deiry's research group found that TRAIL-resistant cells avoid death by producing 'survival' proteins called cIAP2 and Mcl-1. The oncogene c-Myc in part hampers a cancer cell's survival strategy by blocking the function of an intermediate protein that oversees cIAP2 and Mcl-1 production. Without these survival proteins, cancer cells are unable to resist the death initiated by TRAIL.
In search of drugs that perform a similar cancer-cell death function to c-Myc, El-Deiry's lab turned to sorafenib, which is also being considered for the treatment of a variety of cancers. Like c-Myc, the researchers found that sorafenib blocked the intermediate and survival proteins when combined with TRAIL, causing TRAIL-resistant colon and lung cancer cell lines to die.
"Our findings are exciting because TRAIL in combination with sorafenib appears to be much less toxic than current chemotherapy drugs," explains El-Deiry. "Plus, sorafenib is already available in a pill form."¨
While enthusiastic about his recent findings, El-Deiry notes sorafenib may be working to increase cell sensitivity to TRAIL through more biochemical pathways than the intermediate alone.
"The ability of sorafenib to work through multiple pathways may be beneficial to cancer treatments because cancer may be altering multiple targets," says El-Deiry.
In the future, El-Deiry plans to explore additional pathways sorafenib may be working through to increase TRAIL sensitivity and to compare the effectiveness of other drugs.
"In addition to proposing a combination therapy that's rational, non-toxic, and effective in preclinical trials, our findings open up new avenues of molecular exploration for designing targeted anti-cancer therapies," said El-Deiry.
Karen Kreeger | EurekAlert!
Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
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...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
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...
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....
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...
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.08.2018 | Information Technology
17.08.2018 | Life Sciences