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Researchers reveal underlying mechanism of powerful chemotherapy for prostate cancer treatment
Date:9/17/2012

NEW YORK (Sept. 17, 2012) -- The power of taxane-based chemotherapy drugs are misunderstood and potentially underestimated, according to researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in the September 15 issue of the journal Cancer Research.

Most physicians and investigators believe that taxane chemotherapy (paclitaxel, docetaxel and cabazitaxel) just does one thing -- stop a cancer cell from dividing -- but the team of Weill Cornell scientists have revealed it acts much more powerfully and broadly, especially against prostate cancer.

"Taxanes are one of the best class of chemotherapy drugs that we can use to treat our cancer patients, but while they are effective against a wide range of tumors, they don't work in all of them, and often patients become resistant," says the study's senior investigator, Dr. Paraskevi Giannakakou, an associate professor of pharmacology in medicine and pharmacology and director of laboratory research for the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Weill Cornell. "However, our new understanding of the precise action of taxanes in a cancer cell may help us overcome drug insensitivity or acquired resistance to the drugs and design therapies that can be used in combination with them to improve cancer control."

In their study, the researchers stress that investigators must shift their attention away from taxane's function during cell division to the drugs' effects on halting the everyday movement of proteins and protein-to-protein communication within cancer cells -- and to understanding how and why a cancer cell can still survive. Researchers suggest that cancers that are insensitive to taxanes -- or those that have become resistant to them -- may, for example, switch to alternate forms of "transportation" to shuttle proteins within cells in a way that does not depend on the cell's skeletal structure which is the target of taxane therapy.

Researchers showed in the study that the androgen
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Contact: Lauren Woods
law2014@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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