Scientists have discovered why a treatment for ovarian cancer only works in half of the patients who have it, BBC News Online reports.
Paclitaxel shrinks ovarian tumours — but Cambridge University researchers found that patients lacking a specific type of protein tend to be immune.
The researchers, based at the Cambridge Research Institute, examined ovarian cancer cells and data from 20 patients.
They found those who did not respond to paclitaxel had lower levels of a protein called TGFBI in their pre-treatment samples.
And further analysis revealed that cancer-cell death rate was higher following treatment where levels of TGFBI were high.
“Our work reveals that some proteins that surround cancer cells such as TGFBI send messages to microtubules, the backbone of the cell, sensitizing them to paclitaxel,” said Dr. Ahmed Ashour Ahmed, who worked on the study.
“Deciphering the code by which these messages are sent will enable the discovery of new treatments that will simulate the coded messages leading to a significant improvement in paclitaxel response,” Ahmed added.
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