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Double-pronged attack could treat common children's cancer
Date:11/1/2013

A dual-pronged strategy using two experimental cancer drugs together could successfully treat a childhood cancer by inhibiting tumour growth and blocking off the escape routes it uses to become resistant to treatment, finds a new study.

Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, found that combining two separate molecularly targeted therapies could stop processes driving growth in a cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma, a major cause of cancer death in children.

The drugs, called AZD8055 and AZD6244, block two different signalling pathways involved in cancer growth acting like road-blocks on two separate routes that cancers could otherwise use to evade treatment.

The study, published in Clinical Cancer Research today (Friday, 1 November), was funded by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Cancer at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), with additional funding from Cancer Research UK, The Royal Marsden Hospital Charitable Fund and the Chris Lucas Trust.

Rhabdomyosarcoma tumours can form anywhere in the body and resemble primitive muscle tissue. Despite advances in treatment options, there has been little improvement in outcome for patients with rhabdomyosarcoma in decades and they remain difficult to treat.

Previous research has shown that many rhabdomyosarcomas display activity of the PI3 Kinase signalling pathway, which plays a key role in cancer growth. However, blocking this pathway in other cancer types can lead to alternative signalling pathways becoming active to compensate, allowing resistance to treatment to develop.

In this study, scientists at the ICR targeted the PI3 Kinase pathway and a second pathway called MAP Kinase, to assess any compensatory signalling and determine if blocking both pathways could effectively inhibit rhabdomyosarcoma cell growth.

The researchers found that the PI3 Kinase pathway was active in 83% of r
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Contact: Lauren King
lauren.king@icr.ac.uk
020-715-35380
Institute of Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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