Rewiring the biology of leukemia cells to reverse drug resistance

From Phys.Org:

Kinase inhibitors are a type of targeted drug that block chemical messengers (enzymes) called kinases within cells. Kinases activate proteins in cells that are needed for a variety of normal cellular functions, including metabolism, growth, division and survival; however, kinases can become dysregulated in cancer, helping cancer cells to grow and survive. Although kinase inhibitors have shown success in the treatment of some tumor types, many cancers fail to respond or develop resistance against these targeted drugs. In this study, Professor Pedro Cutillas and his team found it was possible to overcome kinase inhibitor resistance in leukemia cells by manipulating the cellular pathways that the cells use to survive.

Kinase inhibitors work by blocking components of different signaling pathways that cancer cells use to grow and survive. However, similar to how satellite navigation devices suggest an alternative route to reach a destination if there is a road closure; cells can learn to use other routes to carry out a function when a drug blocks their usual pathway. These alternative routes, or ‘intrinsic resistance,’ compensate for the effects of the drug and can prevent the drug from killing the cancer cell.

More here.