Richmond, Va. (Feb. 10, 2011) Scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center have developed a novel treatment strategy for multiple myeloma that pairs two targeted agents to kill cancer cells. The study's findings, published in today's edition of the journal "Blood," are the first to demonstrate the synergistic, anti-myeloma effects of this combination regimen both in vitro and in vivo.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer involving antibody-producing cells in the bone marrow, and, in most cases, is incurable. Targeted therapies work by interfering with biological and biochemical functions critical for cancer cell survival and proliferation. The new treatment strategy from VCU Massey combines Src inhibitors, which block the activity of an important group of proteins that regulate cancer cell behavior, with Chk1 inhibitors, which interfere with cancer cells' ability to undergo cell cycle arrest and repair DNA damage.
"Chk1 inhibitors are currently used primarily in conjunction with conventional DNA-damaging chemotherapeutic agents," says the study's lead investigator Steven Grant, M.D., associate director for translational research, Shirley Carter and Sture Gordon Olsson Chair in Oncology Research and professor of internal medicine at VCU Massey Cancer Center. "By combining Chk1 inhibitors with another targeted agent, such as Src inhibitors, we were able to induce cell death in multiple myeloma cells while sparing healthy, normal cells."
When multiple myeloma cells are subjected to DNA-damaging agents, or even when they are undergoing normal DNA replication, their DNA is subject to breakage. To survive, they must slow down their progression through the cell cycle in order to repair the DNA, or, if the damage is too severe, undergo a form of cell suicide.
Chk1 is an enzyme that allows cells to undergo cell cycle arrest, a process required to repair the DNA damage. When cancer cells are exposed to Chk1 inhibitor
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Virginia Commonwealth University