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Drug resistance of some cancer cells depends on cell cycle at time of treatment rather than mutation

22 August 2021

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Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world, with 2 million new cases diagnosed every year. Many people with lung cancer are treated with a chemotherapy drug called cisplatin, which can help to extend survival. But the cancer cells can often develop resistance to the therapy and start growing again, so the cancer comes back. To find out more about what might be causing this drug resistance, researchers have been using sophisticated tracking techniques to study the patterns of growth of lung cancer cells in the lab, both before (left) and after treatment with cisplatin (right). Curiously, they have found that some cells don’t develop resistance through genetic changes. Instead, this ability depends on which stage in their growth cycle they were originally treated. The findings challenge our current understanding of how cancers evolve resistance to chemotherapy, pointing towards new ideas for treating the disease more effectively.

Written by Kat Arney

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