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Studying a new mechanism that makes tumours resistant to drugs

  • Researcher: Professor Kevin Ryan
  • Institution: Beatson Institute for Cancer Research
  • Award Amount: £135,749 for 2 years from February 2013
  • Cancer Type: General Cancer Research
Studying a new mechanism that makes tumours resistant to drugs

Chemotherapy drugs are used to kill cancer cells. Drug treatments don't always work because some cancers become resistant to drugs. They are resistant because cancer cells have molecules on their surface, called drug transporters, that basically "spit out" the drugs from inside the cell, where the drug would normally kill it. Healthy cells also have drug transporters, but in tumours there are many more. So far, scientists have identified three main drug transporters that are involved in chemotherapy resistance. Unfortunately, they do not know why there are so many more drug transporters on cancer cells compared to healthy cells. Professor Ryan and his team have identified a protein within tumours that controls the growth of these drug transporters, and that this protein can prevent cancer cells from being killed by chemotherapy drugs because of drug transporters on the cells. With this Worldwide Cancer Research grant, they want to further investigate how this protein controls drug transporters and how it is linked to human cancer.

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