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Drug Shows Promise in Laboratory as Oral Cancer Treatment

 

November 14, 2006

For the thousands of Americans diagnosed each year with oral squamous cell carcinoma, a cornerstone of their treatment is a chemotherapy drug called cisplatin.  As potent as cisplatin is at killing tumor cells, a small subset often grow resistant to the drug and survive.  This has left oncologists in great need of a second chemotherapy agent to kill the cisplatin-resistant cells.  In the October 20 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, NIDCR grantees report that they may have the solution.  It’s called PS-341, which belongs to a new class of chemotherapeutic drugs that can induce apoptosis, or programmed cell death, independently of conventional cancer therapy.   In a series of laboratory experiments, the scientists found PS-341 “potently” triggered apoptosis in cultured oral squamous cell carcinoma cells that were known to be resistant to cisplatin.  The scientists also worked out the biochemical details, showing PS-341 does its deadly deed through a novel signaling pathway that is activated as a stress response in the endoplasmic reticulum, the cytoplasmic organelle where proteins are synthesized.  “Given the fact that chemoresistance is a significant problem in cancer therapy, our results suggest that PS-341 may offer a novel alternative for treating recurrent cancer patients.”  

  





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This page last updated: February 26, 2014