Australia’s University of Queensland researchers on Thursday said they have discovered a way to reverse drug resistance in skin and mouth cancers, by adding a new drug to an existing treatment.
The squamous cell carcinoma form of skin and mouth cancer “was curable when diagnosed early but difficult to eradicate once the cancer spread,” the university’s Associate Professor Nicholas Saunders said in a statement. The cancer kills about 1,400 Australians each year, he said.
“The drugs used to treat squamous cell carcinomas that have spread to other parts of the body only work for a small fraction of patients.
“In our study, we successfully added a new drug to an existing treatment to make squamous cell carcinomas responsive to treatment,” said Saunders.
The researchers found that a particular protein was controlling drug resistance in the affected cells and by administering a drug that helps keep it in the relevant cell nucleus, the cancer cells would react to existing chemotherapeutic treatments, said Saunders.