New drug class offsets chemotherapy resistance in ovarian cancer

Researchers at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia have found a new class of drugs that can reduce a tumor’s resistance to chemotherapy.

The bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) domain inhibitor class of drugs has shown that, in combination with cisplatin, it can suppress activity of the enzyme ALDH in epithelial ovarian cancer cells. ALDH activity increases as a result of higher levels of ALDH1A1 protein created by cancer stem-like cells, contributing to chemo resistance. By suppressing the enzyme, the effect can be reversed, the study, published in Cancer Research, shows.

Cisplatin is an effective platinum-based chemotherapy, but it does increase ALDH levels on its own, so over time the tumor builds a resistance. But in combination with BET, the effect was offset.

Featured Webinar

From Concept to Market: Overcoming the Challenges of Manufacturing and Clinical Trials

In this webinar we will reveal the inner workings of the manufacturing and pharmacy department of a CRO/CDMO, so you understand the different regulatory and operational considerations faced by a clinical research pharmacy.

Learn how CRO/CDMOs successfully address operational and regulatory challenges for pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients; and how this can make the difference between study success or failure.

In mice with epithelial ovarian cancer cells, those receiving a combination of the drugs as opposed to cisplatin alone showed significantly extended survival and delayed tumor outgrowth.

"There is a tremendous need for novel therapeutic strategies for patients with chemotherapy resistant ovarian cancer, given the prevalence of the clinical challenge and the limited number of other options available," lead author Rugang Zhang said. "This study demonstrates how an existing class of targeted therapies could be used to potentiate the tumor suppression induced by cisplatin."

Suggested Articles

A Mount Sinai-led team found that immune cells in the brain protect it from abnormal activation that can lead to behavioral problems.

Sanford Burnham Prebys researchers showed that blocking the formation of the nuclear pore complex in cancer cells can slow their growth.

A new atlas of 500,000 cardiac cells could help researchers better understand how a healthy heart operates—and what goes wrong in heart disease.