'Kiss of death' cancer: How computational geeks may have uncovered a therapy for a deadly disease

medicalxpress.com | 6/19/2018 | Staff
bungienet (Posted by) Level 3
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It's called the 'kiss of death'. Triple negative breast cancer has no targeted drug therapy and, as such, the only hope for these patients is chemotherapy. Triple negative breast cancer is aggressive and deadly. Patients are currently treated by chemotherapy but there is no guarantee of success—and unfortunately, for those that chemotherapy does not work, the survival rate remains only 12 months.

Doctors are turning to combination therapies—cocktails of drugs—in an effort to kill the cancer. However there is no reliable way to predict which combinations, amongst hundreds, will work (and work quickly) for an individual patient with triple negative breast cancer.

Monash - Researchers - Treatment - Data - Cancer

Monash researchers have used genetic and treatment data from triple negative cancer cells grown in the lab and from hundreds of patients world-wide to develop a computer program, which has revealed a previously unknown combination of drugs that may be the answer to the disease. Published today in the prestigious journal, PLOS Computational Biology, Dr. Lan Nguyen from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, and his team, believes the computer model will eventually become an app that clinicians can use to match the best combinations of drugs for individual patients who present with the disease.

Triple negative breast cancer cells can develop resistance to a single targeted drug within days, sometimes hours—largely by re-routing the signaling pathways within the cells.

Car - Accident - Traffic - Gridlock - Dr

"It's similar to when there's a car accident, and the traffic manages to re-route itself around it without causing gridlock," Dr. Nguyen said.

"But how exactly these cancer cells find new routes to avoid the drug effect remains largely unknown," he added.

Monash - Team - Collaboration - Colleagues - Weizmann

The Monash team, in collaboration with colleagues at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, have characterised a key signaling network that drives the growth of triple negative...
(Excerpt) Read more at: medicalxpress.com
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