Getting Beyond Cancer Drug Resistance

Multiple myeloma ADR explored with Liquid Chromatography Multiple Reaction Monitoring

(RxWiki News) Some cancers respond well to chemotherapy in the beginning. After some time, though, the therapy may stop working because of a condition known as acquired drug resistance (ADR). Doctors are gaining ground in understanding why this resistance happens.

Researchers have discovered that an existing technology may be useful in understanding and countering ADR in multiple myeloma. This method could be used to help doctors make treatment decisions and also develop personalized treatment options.

"Ask your pharmacist or doctor if your medications are working."

Multiple myeloma is a form of blood cancer that develops in the bone marrow. And while it's currently incurable, patients initially respond well to chemotherapy. Treatment then stalls when patients become resistant to the drugs, explains John M. Koomen, Ph.D., assistant member in Molecular Oncology and Experimental Therapeutics and scientific director of Moffitt’s Proteomics Core Facility.

A team of  researchers has been studying how to overcome ADR by monitoring proteins involved with the process, including programmed cell death known as apoptosis.

The scientists have been working with Liquid chromatography-multiple reaction monitoring (LC-MRM), which Koomen tells dailyRx has been used for decades in a number of different biological applications.

LC-MRM, for example, has been used to detect biomarkers, which show the presence of disease.

"While many investigators focus on LC-MRM as a method for biomarker quantification, our research group and its collaborators use LC-MRM to explore cancer biology," Koomen said.

He said, "The ability to measure large numbers of proteins in a single sample enables assessment of the components of signaling pathways and biological processes that are relevant to disease and treatment response."

In this latest research, researchers looked at proteins involved in cell death in both drug-resistant cells vs. non-drug-resistant cells.

LC-MRM can also be configured to explore drug resistance mechanisms, according to Koomen.

He adds that being able to monitor proteins represents major progress in understanding multiple myeloma and its biomarkers. This knowledge can assist in decision making and lead toward more personalized treatments for the disease.

This technology has potential applications on a number of medical fronts, according to Koomen.

Findings from this study have been published the October issue of Molecular and Cellular Proteomics.

Review Date: 
September 9, 2011