‘Drug cocktails’ could strengthen targeted cancer therapies

Posted: 7 August 2018 | | No comments yet

“Targeted therapies have revolutionised cancer treatment by targeting fewer components within a human cell, thereby promising better efficacy…”

drug cocktails

Researchers have identified that certain drugs taken in combination, ‘drug cocktails’, help therapies to target and attack cancer more efficiently.

The team from Mount Sinai School of Medicine discovered that side effects lessened when using certain ‘drug cocktails’.

The combination of drugs attack cancer cells from multiple angles, preventing cell growth and proliferation, and the cancer’s ability to become resistant to individual drugs. The combinations of drugs tested include chemotherapy, anti-tumour antibiotics and chemical compounds, and are given at low doses that would not ordinarily give a therapeutic benefit when given individually. However, they strengthen the patient’s response to a separate targeted therapy drug, which blocks enzymes helping the growth of the cancer cells.

The researchers tested the ‘drug cocktails’ on drosophila, mice, and human cancer cell lines to discover ways to enhance targeted cancer therapies. The team believe these drug cocktails can be used with a targeted therapy drug, or after one failed attempt with a targeted therapy cancer drug, and found that some of the drugs could be combined and used in various cancer types. They suggest that this combined therapy could be an appropriate option for an extensive variety of cancer patients.

“Targeted therapies have revolutionised cancer treatment by targeting fewer components within a human cell, thereby promising better efficacy and lower side effects compared to chemotherapy,” said Dr Tirtha K. Das, Assistant Professor of Cell, Developmental and Regenerative Biology at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

“Yet clinical trials show that targeted therapies still elicit side effects, and in many cases cancer cells develop resistance mechanisms to these therapies, eventually leading to disease progression in patients. Our work addresses the central question faced by physicians who treat cancer patients: how do targeted therapies both promote resistance in cancer cells and evoke toxic side effects in patients?”

The drug cocktails developed by the researchers are an advanced method of pushing current efforts using targeted therapies to treat patients. The method of attacking cancer growth from more than one area could increase the chance of success in more patients.

The study was published in Cancer Research.