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New research could provide key to overcoming resistance to HER2 targeted cancer treatments
Date:6/10/2014

ever, some who seem suitable candidates based on a HER2 test, don't gain the maximum intended benefit from these treatments. They may have a natural level of resistance to the treatment which is not detectable with currently available tests, while some other patients respond at first but may then become unresponsive or develop resistance to the treatments."

Professor O'Driscoll continued: "Clinicians urgently need ways of predicting which patients with 'HER2 tumours' are likely to gain real benefit, both to ensure patients are given the optimal treatments and to ensure these very costly drugs are used where they will have the most benefit. Our discovery may offer a new way to predict or identify both innate and acquired resistance, overcome it and potentially block or prevent resistance. This would allow patients to get the full benefit from these particular anti-cancer treatments and help other patients to be more quickly identified and receive the treatment options which are more appropriate for them."

The scientists also found that the levels of NmU outside the cells reflects that within the cells indicating it may be used as an 'extracellular' blood-based marker. This could allow clinicians to access and sample the levels of NmU through a minimally-invasive blood test compared to testing biomarkers within tissues.

They also found that by tweaking NmU's amounts in the cells, they could restore sensitivity to this family of anti-cancer drugs and offer an approach which may help prevent or overcome the serious resistance problem.

The research team conducted other studies which found that blocking NmU also significantly slowed the tumour's growth in the body and they plan to conduct further studies in this area.

The intellectual property has been protected to facilitate the translation of these discoveries to the benefit of patients with two patents pending in Europe and the US. This will be aided by the team's collab
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Contact: Yolanda Kennedy
yokenned@tcd.ie
353-189-63551
Trinity College Dublin
Source:Eurekalert

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