Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Overcoming resistance to HER2 targeted cancer treatments: New research could provide key

Date:
June 10, 2014
Source:
Trinity College Dublin
Summary:
A significant discovery of a new biomarker has been made, which may help overcome resistance to newer and more targeted anti-cancer drugs, such as Herceptin, for HER2 positive cancers. These findings may also help the early identification of patients who will benefit more from these treatments.

Scientists from the School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Trinity College Dublin have made a significant discovery of a new biomarker which may help overcome resistance to newer and more targeted anti-cancer drugs, such as Herceptin, for HER2 positive cancers. These findings may also help the early identification of patients who will benefit more from these treatments.

The researchers, led by Professor Lorraine O'Driscoll, Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Trinity, studied breast cancer cells and their extracellular vesicles (exosomes), which are 'packages' of information released out of cells. They discovered a molecule called Neuromedin U (NmU) which is strongly associated with resistance to the new anti-cancer drugs for HER2 positive cancers. This suggests NmU could be used as a biological marker to indicate the likelihood of responsiveness in a particular patient and may also be very important in the management of resistance to these drugs. The findings have just been published in leading international, peer reviewed journal: Cancer Research, the most frequently cited cancer journal in the world.

About one quarter of breast cancer patients are known as being HER2 positive, where the protein HER2 is found at greater amounts on cancer cells compared to normal cells and which is associated with a poorer prognosis for the patient. A relatively new range of targeted anti-cancer drugs became available in recent years to treat patients with HER2 positive breast cancer and some other cancers such as HER2 positive gastric cancer. The best known one is Herceptin (trastuzumab), but there are other newer drugs in this family, including lapatinib, neratinib, afatinib, pertuzumab, T-DM1.

Speaking about the challenges some patients face with these newer anti-cancer drugs, Professor O'Driscoll said: "Many patients with HER2 positive tumours gain huge benefit from these drugs. Unfortunately, however, some who seem suitable candidates based on a HER2 test, don't gain the maximum intended benefit from these treatments. They may have a natural level of resistance to the treatment which is not detectable with currently available tests, while some other patients respond at first but may then become unresponsive or develop resistance to the treatments."

Professor O'Driscoll continued: "Clinicians urgently need ways of predicting which patients with 'HER2 tumours' are likely to gain real benefit, both to ensure patients are given the optimal treatments and to ensure these very costly drugs are used where they will have the most benefit. Our discovery may offer a new way to predict or identify both innate and acquired resistance, overcome it and potentially block or prevent resistance. This would allow patients to get the full benefit from these particular anti-cancer treatments and help other patients to be more quickly identified and receive the treatment options which are more appropriate for them."

The scientists also found that the levels of NmU outside the cells reflects that within the cells indicating it may be used as an 'extracellular' blood-based marker. This could allow clinicians to access and sample the levels of NmU through a minimally-invasive blood test compared to testing biomarkers within tissues.

They also found that by tweaking NmU's amounts in the cells, they could restore sensitivity to this family of anti-cancer drugs and offer an approach which may help prevent or overcome the serious resistance problem.

The research team conducted other studies which found that blocking NmU also significantly slowed the tumour's growth in the body and they plan to conduct further studies in this area.

The intellectual property has been protected to facilitate the translation of these discoveries to the benefit of patients with two patents pending in Europe and the US. This will be aided by the team's collaboration with the All Ireland Oncology Research Group (ICORG).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Trinity College Dublin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Rani, C. Corcoran, L. Shiels, S. Germano, S. Breslin, S. Madden, M. S. McDermott, B. C. Browne, N. O'Donovan, J. Crown, M. Gogarty, A. T. Byrne, L. O'Driscoll. Neuromedin U: a candidate biomarker and therapeutic target to predict and overcome resistance to HER kinase inhibitors. Cancer Research, 2014; DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-2053

Cite This Page:

Trinity College Dublin. "Overcoming resistance to HER2 targeted cancer treatments: New research could provide key." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140610205311.htm>.
Trinity College Dublin. (2014, June 10). Overcoming resistance to HER2 targeted cancer treatments: New research could provide key. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140610205311.htm
Trinity College Dublin. "Overcoming resistance to HER2 targeted cancer treatments: New research could provide key." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140610205311.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
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