Monday, December 02, 2013

Source of Chemotherapy Resistance

Researchers as the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute have an answer as to why reoccurring cancer tumors are resistant to chemotherapy that administered previously.  The researchers studied colon cancer cells and their sensitivity to the chemotherapy drug oxaliplatin and found that this resistance in reoccurring tumors is due to an inactivated SRBC gene that is not present in the original tumors.  The result of the inactivated gene is that the cancerous cells can survive by quickly repairing the damage done by the chemotherapy to the cell.  Inactivation of the SRBC gene has been associated with a more deadly cancer and, by default, a lower survival rate.  This discovery is important because doctors now have an idea of why a particular treatment is not working and can develop a more personalized treatment plan according to the tumor’s response to the drugs.  Patients with this inactivated gene will need a different type of chemotherapy than others who have a tumor with the activated SRBC gene or will need epigenetic drugs to restore cancerous cell’s sensitivity to oxaliplatin. 
I found this article interesting because finding the source of resistance to treatment is the first step to solving the problem.  Cancer is something that affects nearly everyone in one way or another and any advancements that can be made in the field have the potential to save thousands of lives.  This knowledge of an inactivated gene can help oncologists develop a better and more effective treatment plan for their patients and can increase the survival rate of patients with colon cancer. 

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