Genes identified which predict response to breast cancer treatment

Sep 24, 2007 Full story: Physics Blog

“Up to half of all patients treated with this drug will develop resistance and the treatment will fail.”

Scientists in Aberdeen have identified two genes that identify which breast cancer cells are resistant and which respond to a common chemotherapy treatment. via Physics Blog

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Since: Dec 05

Vero Beach, FL

#1 Sep 28, 2007
It may be very important to zero in on different genes and proteins. However, when actually taking the "targeted" drugs that come from this research, do the drugs even enter the cancer cell? Once entered, does it immediately get metabolized or pumped out, or does it accumulate? In other words, will it work for every patient?

What needs to be done is to sort out what's the best profile in terms of which patients benefit from this drug or that drug. Can they be combined? What's the proper way to work with all the new drugs? If a drug works extremely well for a certain percentage of cancer patients, identify which ones. If one drug or another is working for some people (not average populations) then obviously there are others out there who would also benefit.

What's good for the group (population) may not be good for the individual, affirms that in the tactic of using "fresh" biopsied cells to predict which cancer treatments will work best for the individual patient, these "smart" drugs have to get inside the cells in order to "target" anything.

So, all the validation of this gene or that protein providing us with a variety of sophisticated techniques to provide new insights into the tumorigenic process, if the "targeted" drug either won't "get in" in the first place or if it gets pumped out/extruded or if it gets immediately metabolized inside the cell, it just isn't going to work. Each of these new "targeted" drugs are not for everybody. Even when the disease is the same type, different patients' tumors respond differently to the same agent.

Dr. Ronald DePinho, director of the Center for Applied Cancer Science at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, argues for quick movement to clinical trials that combine three or more targeted drugs for cancers to shut down all the malfunctioning growth switches.

Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, in a response about the Cancer Genome Project said, "We're going to be able to take a cancer specimen, analyze it, and follow those genetic changes that influence particular pathways, then we'll use one, two, three or more targeted therapies, perhaps simultaneously, and be able to completely interrupt the flow of the cancer process."

According to cancer researcher, Dr. Arny Glazier, in his book "Cure: Scientific, Social and Organizational Requirements for the Specific Cure of Cancer," the consistent and specific cure or control of cancer will require multiple drugs administered in combination targeted to abnormal patterns of normal cellular machinery that effect or reflect malignant behavior. It means finding the patterns of malignant cells and develop a set of 5 to 10 drugs in order to cure or control cancer.

Upgrading clinical therapy by using drug sensitivity assays measuring "cell death" of three dimensional microclusters of live "fresh" tumor cells, can improve the situation by allowing more drugs to be considered. The more drug types there are in the selective arsenal, the more likely the system is to prove beneficial.

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