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OHSU Doernbecher discovers new approach to drug resistance in aggressive childhood cancer
Date:3/31/2011

PORTLAND, Ore. Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children's Hospital have identified a promising new approach to overcoming drug resistance in children with an extremely aggressive childhood muscle cancer known as alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. Their findings are published online this week in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics and will be featured on the cover of the journal's print edition next month.

Rhabdomyosarcoma accounts for more than 50 percent of all soft-tissue cancers in children. Even after extensive therapy, the survival rate among alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma patients with advanced disease is less than 20 percent. Dismal outcomes such as these are what keep researchers in the Pediatric Cancer Biology Program at OHSU Doernbecher working around the clock toward a breakthrough.

"Despite our best efforts, outcomes for metastatic alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma have not improved for decades. That's why our findings are significant. Our clinical partners now have a new method of mitigating resistance to the current treatment for childhood muscle cancer," said Jinu Abraham, Ph.D., lead author and senior research associate in the Pediatric Cancer Biology Program at OHSU Doernbecher, and a member of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

Previous studies led by Charles Keller, M.D., leader of the Pediatric Cancer Biology Program at OHSU Doernbecher, have shown an important relationship between increased growth factor signaling through the insulin-like growth factor receptor (Igf1r) and decreased survival in children with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of muscle cancer that typically occurs in the limbs, chest or abdomen of children and adolescents. Growth factor signaling is required for normal development but impairment of this pathway causes abnormal cell growth.

In the current study, Abraham and colleagues tested whether the non-chemotherapy drug NVP-AEW541 could stop Igf1r signaling i
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Contact: Tamara Hargens-Bradley
hargenst@ohsu.edu
503-494-8231
Oregon Health & Science University
Source:Eurekalert

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