June 4, 2012

Combating Drug Resistance in Cancer

(Ivanhoe Newswire) --Almost twelve million -- that´s how many cancer patients are living in the U.S. But what happens when the patients are no longer responsive to the drugs created to treat them? It´s a problem researchers at Case Western Reserve University are working to better understand.

Researchers say overactive epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling has been linked to the development of cancer. They found many patients have developed resistance to the drug therapies created to fight these EGFR-associated cancers.

Goutham Narla and his team are studying the molecular players in the EGFR signaling pathway in hopes of finding new drug targets for EGFR-associated cancers. Using cancerous human lung tissue and a mouse model of EGFR-associated lung cancer, the researchers discovered that two tumor suppressor genes function to disrupt overactive EGFR signaling. After treating the cancerous lung tissue and cancer-prone mice with an FDA-approved drug called trifluoperazine hydrochloride they restored the effectiveness of the anti-EGFR drug erlotinib and reduced tumor growth. Their work identified new drug targets for EGFR-associated cancers. Their findings suggest that combinatorial drug therapy regimens could improve treatment outcome for some patients.

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Investigation, June 1, 2012