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Treatment resistance in some cancer cells may be reversible
Date:4/1/2010

ug tolerance was associated with changes in gene expression, implicating alterations in chromatin, the chromosome structure consisting of DNA wrapped around a protein scaffolding. The researchers found that a particular chromatin-modifying enzyme was required for the development of tolerance, and while no currently available drug inhibits that protein, agents that block an associated group of enzymes did cause the death of drug-tolerant but not drug-sensitive cells.

"We believe this kind of reversible drug resistance may be a fundamental property of many tumor cell populations," says Settleman. "Determining whether what we see in cell cultures will translate into what happens in patients is essential, and we've already started a clinical trial to see if combining a chromatin-modifying agent with the targeted lung-cancer drug erlotinib [Tarceva] may prevent or delay the development of resistance. We're also using our cell culture models to further explore the underlying mechanisms." Settleman is the Laurel Schwartz Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.


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Contact: Katie Marquedant
kmarquedant@partners.org
617-726-0337
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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