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New therapy shows promise for fighting treatment-resistant cancer cells
Date:6/16/2008

NEW ORLEANS, La.A gene radiotherapy system that detects and treats cancer cells that are resistant to traditional forms of chemotherapy and radiation showed success in the laboratory and could eventually prove beneficial for cancer patients, according to researchers at SNM's 55th Annual Meeting. The new system targets oxygen-deficient hypoxic cancer cells that have activated a gene known as HIF-1, which ensures the cells' survival and makes them unresponsive to most current treatments.

"These types of cancer cells pose a significant challenge in treating many patients," said June-key Chung, a professor of nuclear medicine at Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea, and lead researcher of the study, Human NIS Gene Radiotherapy Targeting HIF-1 Activated Cancer Cells. "Our research shows that this system successfully targets these hard-to-treat cells in vitro. Eventually, it could offer a novel way to develop new therapies for drug- and radiation-resistant cancers."

Hypoxic cancer cells are found in solid tumors that develop in many different cancers, including cancers of the liver, breast, prostate and uterus. Solid tumors undergo a multitude of cytogenetic or genetic changes over many years, some of which may resist almost any standard therapy.

"It is well known that hypoxic cancer cells are resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, therefore creating a real dilemma for cancer therapies," said Chung. "Now, we are hopeful that new therapeutic models targeting resistant cancers, which are currently under development in the laboratory, can be successfully used for treatment. The results of our research imply that this is a real possibility."

Hypoxic cancer cells do not develop adequate blood vessels to receive oxygen. Because cells need oxygen to survive, hypoxic cells instead activate the HIF-1 protein, which changes cells' metabolism and enables them to burn sugar for energy without oxygen. Traditio
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Contact: Amy Shaw
ashaw@snm.org
703-652-6773
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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