A strategy for combating drug-resistant cancers

August 27, 2013

Many cancer therapies function by activating proteins like Caspase-3 (CASP3) that promote cell death. Several forms of cancer develop resistance to these drugs by down regulating CASP3 through an unknown mechanism. In the absence of CASP3, tumor cells produce another cell death promoting protein CASP7, but it is rendered inactive by the X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP).

In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Po-Huang Liang and colleagues at Academia Sinica identify a compound (I-Lys) that disrupts the interaction between CASP7 and XIAP. Release of CASP7 from this complex in drug activated cell death and reduced malignancies. Furthermore, no adverse side effects were observed in non- treated with the drug.

In the accompanying commentary, Gregory Gores from the Mayo Clinic explains that these results are promising for combatting drug resistant cancers, but more work needs to be done to establish if I-Lys will be safe and beneficial for human use.

Explore further: Targeting pancreatic cancer drug resistance

More information: Targeting the XIAP/caspase-7 complex selectively kills caspase-3–deficient malignancies, J Clin Invest. 2013;123(9):3861–3875. DOI: 10.1172/JCI67951
Unshackling caspase-7 for cancer therapy, J Clin Invest. 2013;123(9):3706–3708. DOI: 10.1172/JCI71440

Related Stories

Targeting pancreatic cancer drug resistance

July 8, 2013

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly and intractable forms of cancer, with a 5-year survival rate of only 6%. Novel therapies are urgently needed, as conventional and targeted approaches have not been successful and ...

Cancer: Unraveling a mechanism behind cellular proliferation

August 14, 2013

A hallmark of cancer is uncontrolled and sustained cell division. One particular overactive protein is implicated in this malfunction. EPFL scientists have discovered a complex mechanism that regulates this protein's activity ...

Recommended for you

Scientists developing new test for breast cancer

September 29, 2016

Scientists at The Australian National University (ANU) are working with researchers in France to develop a new potential way to detect and monitor breast cancer that could involve a simple blood test.

Tumor paint brings light to toddler's brain tumor

September 28, 2016

In December of last year, Laura Coffman began to notice that something wasn't quite right with her 2-year-old son, Hunter. He was leaning to one side and seemed to lose his balance easily. When he became lethargic and started ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.