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New cancer findings by: Leslie Bunder
FILED UNDER SOMETHINGISRAELI >> Health & Lifestyle

Cancer treatment
Cancer treatment

New ways to fight cancer could be helped by the latest findings by Israeli researchers.

At Israel's Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, medical researchers discovered cancer cells are finding new ways to become resident to chemotherapy drugs treatment.
 
The research should help uncover why some treatment is more effective than others and how some cancer cells are able to become resistant to anticancer drugs.
 
In its project, Professor Yehuda Assaraf and his research student Assaf Shafran discovered that during chemotherapy, a mutation occurs in a protein known as ABCG2. Once the mutation takes places, it can lead to a rapid spread of the cancer.
 
"The mutation is an event in which a single amino acid changes in the structure of the ABCG2 protein, which then acts as a pump to transfer out the various anticancer drugs," explained Professor Assaraf. "Acting as 'super-pumps,' the mutated ABCG2 proteins make cancer cells 6000 times more resistant to various anticancer drugs."
 
In another project by Professor Assaraf and researcher Ilan Ifergan, they found that cancer cells manage to move anti-cancer drugs away from them and deposit them into waste baskets.
 
"The mutated ABCG2 protein is found in large quantities in the extra cellular membrane of these vesicles located among the neighbouring cancer cells. It 'cleans' the cancer cells of chemotherapy drugs such as mitoxantrone and collects them in these vesicles, which enlarge and inflate until the drug concentration is a thousand times greater than in the surrounding cell culture," explained Professor Assaraf. "This is a completely new resistance mechanism practiced by breast cancer cells to fight the lethal activities of anticancer drugs."
 
The research also confirmed that delaying the mutation from occurring, patients get a better chance to fight cancer and it is hoped these findings will go towards the global fight in dealing with the disease.



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