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research: sensitizing breast cancer stem cells for reception to TRAIL

Posted Sep 17 2011 2:56am

TRAIL (TNF-alpha-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand) is a drug that has use in treating other cancers. It has had little use as treatment of breast cancer because breast cancer has a protein that is resistant to TRAIL.

A PhD student and hockey player, Luke Piggott, at Cardiff University in Wales, however, has been studying ways to modify cancer stem cells to turn off their resistance to the effects of TRAIL. Stem cell treatment is one of the areas of research that holds some hope since cancer stem cells control much of cancer’s growth. Piggott’s study was published in Breast Cancer Research in September 2011.

With the disappointing results of PARP inhibitors , we really hope to see some new areas of attention that might provide new drugs to slow tumor growth and bide us time until . . . Stem cell research seems to hold the key, but, as with all research, it takes so much time. And time is precious to anyone with metastatic  cancer. Consciously, we may avoid thinking about it, but that clock is always ticking in the background.

So, excuse me, please while I do a little dance of hope for stem cell research, which in this case, “reduced secondary tumors by 98 percent and repeat treatments killed cancer stem cells if they reappeared.”

Luke Piggott, Nader Omidvar, Salvador Marti-Perez, Matthias Eberl, Richard W E Clarkson. Suppression of apoptosis inhibitor c-FLIP selectively eliminates breast cancer stem cell activity in response to the anti-cancer agent, TRAIL. In Breast Cancer Research 2011, 13:R88 (14 September 2011).

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© 2004–2011 Donna Peach. All rights reserved.

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