Protein behind immunity to ovarian cancer treatment identified

December 17th, 2007 - 1:17 pm ICT by admin  

London, Dec 17 (ANI): People suffering from ovarian cancer who have lower levels of protein called TGFBI, are less likely to respond to the treatment for cancer, says a study.

Transforming growth factor, beta-induced, 68kDa, also known as TGFBI, is a human gene.

The finding was based on a study, led by Dr James Brenton, a Cambridge University researcher, which found that patients lacking the protein tend to be immune to Paclitaxel, a drug that shrinks ovarian tumours.

Paclitaxel is part of a family of drugs called taxanes, originally derived from yew trees.

In the study, the researchers examined ovarian cancer cells and data from 20 patients.

They results found that those who did not respond to paclitaxel had lower levels of a protein called TGFBI in their pre-treatment samples.

And further analysis revealed that cancer cell death rate was higher following treatment where levels of TGFBI were high.

“TGFBI is lost in one third of primary ovarian cancers and it is possible that this protein could be used as a biomarker for selecting patients likely to respond to this class of drug, BBC quoted Brenton, as saying.

“Our findings offer hope not only for improved ovarian cancer treatment, it may also lead to improvements in the success rate of other taxane drugs used to treat lung and breast cancer, he added.

Dr Ahmed Ashour Ahmed, who also worked on the study, said: “Our work reveals that some proteins that surround cancer cells such as TGFBI send messages to microtubules, the backbone of the cell, sensitising them to paclitaxel.

“Deciphering the code by which these messages are sent will enable the discovery of new treatments that will simulate the coded messages leading to a significant improvement in paclitaxel response, he added.

Professor Herbie Newell, of Cancer Research UK, said: “We are entering a period of cancer treatment where more drugs are targeted at those people who will benefit the most.

“This personalised medicine approach potentially means treatments will be more effective with fewer side effects. This is really important for diseases like ovarian cancer that can be challenging to treat, Newell added. (ANI)

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