Way to break resistant breast cancer cells identified

Washington: A new research, led by an Indian-origin scientist, has claimed that genetically altering breast cancer cells to forcibly activate a heat-shock protein could break the resistance of the cells to drug treatment.

Hsp27, a protein that regulates several others including the protein that sets up the pumps that turn away chemotherapeutics, is being used by researchers to break the resistance and shut off the pumps of breast cancer cells.

In study that was conducted in MCF-7/adr breast cancer cells, the common chemotherapy drug Doxorubicin killed about 50 percent more drug-resistant breast cancer cells in which Hsp27 had been activated than it did in normal drug-resistant cells.

Although these results have been shown only in cell cultures in a laboratory, researchers suggest that there could someday be a clinical way to use this approach to reverse the drug resistance that can develop in breast cancer cells.

“These cells are actually resistant to multiple drugs, so the resistance will be there even if clinicians move on to other chemotherapeutics. It’s a serious issue,” Govindasamy Ilangovan, senior author of the research, said.

“The plausible way to circumvent this effect is to suppress the resistance by shutting down the drug extrusion pump using molecular approaches. That is what we’re trying to address,” he stated.

The study has been published 23rd September issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.


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