23 February 2022

New drug combinations found for resistant cancers

Elize Brolsma

Elize Brolsma

Elize is part of Oncode’s communication team. She has over 10 years of experience in the com-munication industry, both for commercial and non-profit organisations. After obtaining her bache-lor and master degree in communication at Utrecht University, Elize worked as a communication professional at a research institute, PR agency, law firm and internet company. She has a strong focus on external communications and Public Relations. At Oncode - together with her colleagues - Elize produces the monthly newsletters for Oncode Investigators & Researchers and the Oncode digital magazine. She publishes content for the Oncode website and is responsible for all social media channels. She enjoys discussing science with researchers and support them in their outreach.

Researchers have found multiple drug combinations that could be effective therapies for breast, colon, and pancreatic cancer. An international team of researchers tested over 2.000 combinations of cancer drugs that are already used individually to treat patients. They created the world’s largest resource that shows possible effective combinations for further study, published in Nature today.

Resistance to cancer treatments is a huge problem that costs lives. Effectively combining the right drugs could overcome resistance, and expand treatment options for cancer patients. However, there are hundreds of thousands of possible drug combinations and it is hard to tell which ones will be effective. Testing all of these in patients is neither ethical nor practical until there is more evidence identifying either their effectiveness, or the patient groups that would benefit the most.

World’s largest resource
In this new publication, researchers have tested 2025 drug combinations in breast, colon or pancreas cancer cell lines (see image). They have extensively analyzed variables within these 125 cell lines in response to the drugs, resulting in the world’s largest resource of its kind. This freely available information is expected to help researchers predict which combination therapies are worth investigating (pre)clinically.

Path to implementation
“This work demonstrates that by using model systems to select combinations of drugs, the path from testing a particular drug combination to clinical implementation can be shortened significantly,” says group leader Lodewyk Wessels from the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Oncode Institute. He was closely involved in the analysis. “This is illustrated by our identification and validation of the combination of the drugs irinotecan and rabusertib, which holds the promise of deeper and more durable clinical response in particular types of colon cancer.”

This news release was originally published on the website of the Netherlands Cancer Institute www.nki.nl

The research team tested 2025 combinations of cancer drugs on cell lines of three major cancer types. 121 combinations were tested in all three types.

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<span>Elize</span><span>Brolsma</span>

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