News / Health

Study: Combination Therapy Could Revolutionize Cancer Treatment

Lab officer cuts DNA fragment under UV light from an agarose gel for DNA sequencing as part of research to determine genetic mutation in a blood cancer patient, Singapore, file photo.
Lab officer cuts DNA fragment under UV light from an agarose gel for DNA sequencing as part of research to determine genetic mutation in a blood cancer patient, Singapore, file photo.
Jessica Berman
One of the researchers who two decades ago put forward the idea of using drug cocktails to treat people infected with the virus that causes AIDS has concluded that combination therapies could cure cancer.
 
Martin Nowak, Harvard University professor of mathematics and biology, who is also director of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, and co-author Ivana Bozic, a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics, published their findings in eLife Journal on Thursday.
 
Nowak was among researchers who analyzed data on how quickly the AIDS virus mutates against a single drug, a mid-1990s breakthrough that allowed scientists to drive the AIDS virus to virtually undetectable levels in HIV-infected patients by using a combination of antiretroviral drugs — drug cocktails that could turn a lethal disease into a manageable one.
 
"These calculations led the medical community very quickly to adopt the combination treatment," he said. "And so in some sense, I want to achieve the same for the cancer community."
 
Today many cancer patients are treated with targeted therapy, drugs that inhibit specific genetic mutations that give rise to the growth and spread of tumors. But some cancers often return, according to Nowak, because they develop resistance to a drug that is trained on a single abnormal gene.
 
Resistance to more than one drug can also occur, he adds, if they both target the same genetic mutation or if different therapies are used one after the other, giving the cancer time to develop resistance to both drugs.
 
To figure out a way around the problem, Nowak and colleagues created a computer model, inputting data from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York on patients who had died from melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.
 
They also used information on patients from Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Maryland, predicting patients’ response to multiple-drug therapies.
 
The results showed that the virtual patients, with a variety of cancers, could potentially be cured using two drugs that target different genetic mutations simultaneously.
 
That gives Nowak hope for the future of cancer treatment and outcomes.
 
"I’m sure in a few years you will have many success stories when this will gradually lead to a situation where most cancers will be contained in the way that many bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics."
 
A number of pharmaceutical companies around the world are actively pursuing combination therapies that Nowak hopes will revolutionize the treatment of cancer in much the same way that antiretroviral drugs tamed HIV.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid