|Gene Delivers Clues about How Cancer Cells Develop Resistance to Chemotherapy Drug|
In a National Cancer Institute study, researchers have discovered clues about how cancer cells develop resistance to chemotherapy.
Akinso: In a National Cancer Institute study, researchers have discovered clues about how cancer cells develop resistance to chemotherapy. In the study, researchers have shown that increased gene expression in cancer cells which is the process by which inheritable information from a gene is made into a functional gene product, such as protein, plays a significant role in the development of resistance to the chemotherapy drug cisplatin. Dr. Michael Gottesman, of the NCI's Center for Cancer Research and an author of the study, discusses the findings.
Gottesman: We've been trying to understand why it is that cisplatin isn't an even more effective drug, why there are tumors that are resistant to it or become resistant. And we developed in our laboratory a model system using cancer cells and found that they became resistant cisplatinum in a way that involved the increase expression of a gene-which is called SIRT 1.
Akinso: Cisplatin, a chemotherapy drug that contains the metallic element platinum, is widely used in the treatment of many types of cancer, including bladder, lung, ovarian, and testicular cancer. It slows or stops the growth of cancer cells by binding DNA. Dr. Gottesman feels that knowing more about how cells become resistant to cisplatin will help researchers increase the effectiveness of this treatment.
Gottesman: So our goal is to improve the treatment of cancer. It's to make the drugs we currently have more effective. And to enable us to develop new drugs that we can use that won't be effected by the resistance mechanisms.
Akinso: Dr. Gottesman and colleagues are developing molecular tools to define the drug-resistance genes that are expressed in individual cancers, and, in the future hope to use this information to predict a patient's response to therapy and to design new ways to get around resistance. For more information about this study, visit www.cancer.gov. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.