Researchers Examine what Makes Breast Cancer Immune to Drugs


Published Date : Apr 13, 2015

Researchers and scientists are trying to evaluate the ways in which the HER2 positive cancer of the breast becomes resistant and immune to treatment. They have understood how this type of resistance develops. But on the positive side, they have also come with a way to prevent this sort of a resistance from taking place totally. Scientists have stated that a bromodomain inhibitor (BET) can play an important role in disrupting the expression and growth of certain types of genes. 

It was demonstrated that these BET inhibitors have the capacity to stop the growth of resistance of cell lines to lapatinib. These combinations of treatment are at present being tested on mice that are breast cancer models. The main aim of the research study is to develop a new sort of therapy that will help oncologists to provide the type of treatment that apart from being durable is more long lasting. 

Most breast cancer cases are of the subtype of HER2 positive. The standard therapy only seems to be effective in 1/3rd patients suffering from this type of cancer and also the resistance develops gradually in the patients. This problem is typically witnessed by treatments which target kinases. Kinases are proteins which are crucial to cellular activities which include division and movement. In fact these proteins also stimulate tumor growth. In this cancer type, the primary kinase that leads to the growth of the tumor is HER2. What lapatinib does is that it blocks HER2. 

However, when this happens other kinases are used by the cancer cells in order to come up with a way of developing a path about the blockage. However, on further investigations it was ascertained that the kinases which responded did not appear to be the same ones that were from one cell line to another cell line. This in a way suggested that there were several ways in which positive HER2 cancer cells reacted with and came over the blockage created by the HER2.