New Clues to Tumor Toughness

Researchers discover how malignant cells develop resistance to treatment

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THURSDAY, Jan. 20, 2005 (HealthDayNews) -- New information about how cancer cells become resistant to treatment is outlined in a study by researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Johns Hopkins University.

The study found that the protein P-glycoprotein (P-gp), which causes chemotherapy resistance in many forms of cancer, can transfer between tumor cells and maintain its ability to protect otherwise vulnerable cancer cells from the effects of anti-cancer treatment.

This is the first study to show that a protein that moves between cells can retain its function long enough to let recipient cells survive chemotherapy and develop their own resistance. This finding could lead to ways to improve the success of chemotherapy, the researchers said.

The study appears in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about chemotherapy.

SOURCE: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, news release, Jan. 17, 2005

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