Resistant cancer cells can be targeted for elimination

Friday, August 7, 2020 - 12:10 in Health & Medicine

Blood cancers, such as leukemia, can be effectively treated with chemotherapy, although relapse usually occurs when resistant cancer cells evade the original drug regimen. Harvard University researchers have identified a unique characteristic of the resistant cancer cells: a temporary change in metabolism, or how they use nutrients. The findings, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, pave the way for using drugs to target the metabolic pathway and eliminate resistant cells. “In the cancer field, we usually think about resistance as a concept linked to permanent genetic changes. Our findings show that there are other mechanisms contributing to why some cells survive chemotherapy and others do not — the nutrients they have in their microenvironment and how they use them might matter just as much as the genetic background,” said senior author David Scadden, the Gerald and Darlene Jordan Professor of Medicine and professor of stem cell and regenerative biology. Resistant cancer cells are...

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