Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers uncover why combination drug treatment ineffective in cancer clinical trials

Date:
December 5, 2013
Source:
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
Summary:
Medical researchers have discovered that combination drug therapy didn't work well in clinical trials for cancer patients because one drug was making the other drug ineffective.

Medical researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered that combination drug therapy didn't work well in clinical trials for cancer patients because one drug was making the other drug ineffective.

Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry researcher Michael Sawyer and his colleagues, including first author Vijaya Damaraju, recently published their findings in the peer-reviewed journal, Clinical Cancer Research.

In the '80s and '90s, cancer research focused on finding out which proteins "drove" cancers. New drugs targeting these proteins worked well by themselves, and some in the field believed combining the new drugs with the older chemotherapy drugs would work better than either drug by itself.

"So the pharmaceutical industry developed a combination of drugs in which we thought we were giving two drugs at once, but in actual fact the one drug we were giving was completely blocking the actions of the other drug," said Sawyer, who works in the Faculty's Department of Oncology.

"The old chemotherapy drugs required special proteins to get inside of cells to work. What our team discovered is that the new chemotherapy drugs prevented these proteins from carrying the old chemotherapy drugs into the cell. No one was able to figure out why this combination of drugs didn't work, but now we have discovered what went wrong."

Sawyer says the findings will guide oncologists about how cancer drugs should be combined, or whether certain drugs should be combined at all.

"This will save us from doing millions of dollars in clinical trials that have no chance of working out. These findings show oncologists we have to be careful about which drugs should be combined. You have to think about how they actually work, especially in ways which no one understood before.

"Our research was actually like peeling an onion. Once we figured out the answer to one question, then other things the drugs did make more sense. Ultimately, the findings mean we'll be able to design better combination drug therapies. We'll know which drugs to combine, and when and how drugs can be combined. This will require more precise scheduling and dosing than what we've done to date."

He stressed the only patients impacted were those in clinical trials -- the combination drug therapy had not yet become common clinical practice because it wasn't working the way oncologists had hoped. And for those patients who took part in the clinical trials, the one chemotherapy drug was still very effective -- so those patients still received excellent care and drugs that properly targeted their cancers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. V. L. Damaraju, T. Scriver, D. Mowles, M. Kuzma, A. Ryan, C. E. Cass, M. B. Sawyer. Erlotinib, gefitinib and vandetanib inhibit human nucleoside transporters and protect cancer cells from gemcitabine cytotoxicity. Clinical Cancer Research, 2013; DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-2293

Cite This Page:

University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. "Researchers uncover why combination drug treatment ineffective in cancer clinical trials." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131205141623.htm>.
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. (2013, December 5). Researchers uncover why combination drug treatment ineffective in cancer clinical trials. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131205141623.htm
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. "Researchers uncover why combination drug treatment ineffective in cancer clinical trials." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131205141623.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Sixteen large food and beverage companies in the United States that committed to cut calories in their products far surpassed their target. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins