Combined approach offers hope to lung cancer patients who become resistant to drugs
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IMAGE: Response to treatment in cancer cells: The abundance of the EGFR (top row) and HER2 (bottom row) receptors is reduced when the cells are exposed to triple therapy — Tagrisso,… view more 

Credit: Weizmann Institute of Science

New-generation lung cancer drugs have been effective in a large number of patients, but within about a year, the patients tend to develop resistance to the therapy. Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science, in collaboration with physicians, have conducted a study in mice, in which they used existing drugs in a new combination to help crush potential resistance to the treatment. Their findings were published recently in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

Lung cancer is the most common cause of death from malignancy, accounting for about one-fifth of cancer deaths worldwide according to World Health Organization estimates. New drugs treat certain subtypes of this cancer by targeting the genetic mutations characteristic of each subtype.

In about 12%, on average, of lung cancer patients – most of them non-smokers – the malignancy is due to a mutation in a gene called EGFR. This gene encodes a receptor that is embedded in the cell membrane, protruding in both directions: Its “head,” the

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