TAMPA, Fla. – Drug therapies that target a specific molecule have changed the way patients are treated for cancer and greatly improved survival rates. However, some patients do not respond to these therapies because the drug is not reaching the tumor cells effectively. In a new study published in Scientific Reports, Moffitt Cancer Center researchers combined single-cell imaging of cancer cells in mice with mathematical modeling to determine which drug characteristics are the most important for efficient drug uptake.
One of the inherent problems with targeted therapies is that tumors and their surrounding environment are complex and heterogeneous. Not all cells in a given tumor are alike. They can differ from one another in the expression of the targeted membrane receptors which may result in inadequate uptake and non-uniform response to the targeting drug. Additionally, the surrounding tumor environment is composed of different cell types with different properties and densities that can impact the ability of a drug to be effective.
These variations make it difficult to develop drugs that can effectively target all of the cells in a tumor. Furthermore, these cellular and genetic differences may cause a patient to be unresponsive to a cancer-targeted drug because some
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