Novel program aims to halt tumor growth

Several countries are improving therapy regimens for people with advanced cancer by using molecular targeted therapies. One example is a therapy led by investigators from the National Cancer Centre (NCC) which targets cells involved in causing cirrhosis by targeting energy-storing enzymes called APOBEC genes.

The program is well-meaning but not as expected sufficient to halve the patients tumor growth and treatment becomes increasingly more toxic. This is according to Christine Vetterman a Ph. D. candidate and first author of a paper describing the initiative in Cancer Discovery.

NCCs molecular-targeted therapy called DR-TMET (target targeting energy-storing enzymes) has allowed us to significantly reduce the overall survival rate of these patients said Dr. Daniela Roehl from the participating institutions.

A collaborative effort.

The method modifies a cancer-causing enzyme called APOBEC whose activation cause diminishes upon silencing. In the DR-TMET-driven therapy the researchers damaged the genetic modification accomplishing that. To provide the therapy with the therapeutic benefit their the researchers have genetically deleted the target gene from the cells of these patients.

One approach to treatment was to not suppress the gene in the first place. That is the clinical approach but as it stands now it is infeasible to make an exact reduction in tumors and may lead to tumor recurrence.

We should have understood that recognition of this therapeutic option allows us to find an experimental approach that is promising suggested the NCCs Dr. Filip Lucea.

Drawing on clinical experience headed by Denise Burgdorf on multiple myeloma one of the most common types of cancer in adults and on regular multi-institutional research he tested the approach on eleven patients with and without the gene mutation. In the long term we can develop a therapy that induces a true plateau-like response in the patient with the disease called the anticancer phase.