Scientists Discover New Gene that is Driving Drug Resistance
In all of the medications and treatments that are used for breast cancer, no drug is more commonly used then tamoxifen. Recently, scientists have discovered a gene in humans that makes the body resistant to the drug and, in turn, is causing more problems with patients diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer cells need the hormone estrogen in order to grow and multiply, tamoxifen is used to block the receptors that receive this hormone. Scientists discovered that about 50% of the patients that are being treated with the drug eventually become resistant to the treatment. After several trial and error tests, they discovered that the gene NQ01 is the 'trigger' that will determine if a cell survives tamoxifen.
In the resistant cells, tamoxifen actually stimulates the mitochondria in the cell, causing it to fight against the drug. Scientists at the University of Salford used protein profiling, genetics, and metabolism to identify which genes were causing these cells to be resistant to the drug and found that with just the NQ01, a genes drug resistance will be compromised. With this discovery, they developed a chemical inhibitor that sensitizes the tamoxifen-resistant cells. With this discovered, this chemical inhibitor could be added to the medication in order to successfully treat patients with breast cancer. However, this may be an indication that cells are able to become resistant to other cancer-treating drugs that doctors and scientists are unaware about. This shows us just how far we are from finding a cure for breast cancer and all other types of cancer as well.