Virginia Commonwealth University
Resensitizing Cells to Lung Cancer Targeted Therapy
Genetic variations and cell mutations contribute to the growth and development of cancer. Drugs called targeted therapies are designed for specific gene mutations in particular cancers. One effective targeted therapy is EGFR inhibitors, which target lung cancers with mutations in the EGFR gene. These mutations are often found in nonsmoking young patients. EGFR inhibitors are often effective for many of these patients but most eventually become resistant to the drugs. This can occur through a process in the cancer called epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). We will screen for drug compounds that can reverse this effect in EMT cells and re-sensitize them to EGFR inhibitors.
Update: Cell studies have identified a mechanism of EMT-mediated resistance that is active in both EGFR-mutant lung cancers as well as KRAS-mutant lung cancers. Drug strategies to reverse this resistance have been identified, have shown to be effective and are being further tested.