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  (Source: wix.com)
It's not a cure just yet, but could lead to one

cure for cancer looks to be on the horizon as researchers use multiple drug therapies to gang up on mutations and keep the disease from spreading. 

Harvard University researchers -- led by Martin Nowak, a professor of mathematics and of biology and director of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, and Ivana Bozic, a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics -- combined two drugs in an effort to prevent cancer from growing and spreading. 

It's not a cure yet, mainly because the researchers have only developed the method -- not the actual drugs. 

The team discovered the method by studying a data set supplied by clinicians at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which shows how cancer patients reacted to a single-drug therapy. 

Using that data, the team made computer models that simulated how patients would respond to multi-drug therapies. They treated virtual patients with the two-drug method, which was given simultaneously, and compared the results with single-drug therapies. 

"For a single-drug therapy, we know there are between 10 and 100 places in the genome that, if mutated, can give rise to resistance," said Nowak. "So the first parameter we use when we make our calculations is that the first drug can be defeated by those possible mutations. The second drug can also be defeated by 10 to 100 mutations.

"If any of those mutations are the same, then it's a disaster. If there's even a single mutation that can defeat both drugs, that is usually good enough for the cancer -- it will become resistant, and treatment will fail. What this means is we have to develop drugs such that the cancer needs to make two independent steps -- if we can do that, we have a good chance to contain it."

The idea is to create two completely different drugs that aim for different pathways in the cancer's development and growth process. These drugs also cannot be capable of faltering to the same mutation, or they're both wiped out. 

The team even said that three-drug therapies could be used to take on stronger forms of cancer. 

Nowak said that many cancer deaths would likely be prevented in about 50 years. 

Source: Science Daily



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What is actually means
By mac2j on 7/23/2013 7:27:22 PM , Rating: 5
When you take all of the actual science out of a story it becomes unintelligible fluff. What they are referring to are "targeted therapies" which inhibit the signaling pathways driving the out of control proliferation of the cancer. Alone these drugs often have dramatic effects in the short term but the cancers develop resistance and recur in a matter of months. What they did was pick a rational combination of two drugs - one inhibiting the pathway supporting the growth of these tumors and another which blocked an additional pro-cancer pathway that gets activated in order to develop resistance to the 1st drug. By taking away the driver signal and the easiest method of circumventing the 1st drug - the relapses last much longer. In the end this all moot because immunotherapy will cure most cancers long before some 5-drug cocktail of kinase inhibitors does.




Bench science...
By havoti97 on 7/24/2013 6:32:16 AM , Rating: 3
It's nice for a mathematic post-doc to sit comfortably in a chair and calculate all the different odds of failure of different drug combination, but it's quite a different experience to the patients at the receiving end. Perhaps they should try injecting themselves combinations of these poisons to see how they feel. Some people can't even tolerate one drug, let alone different combinations of them.




New?
By MozeeToby on 7/23/2013 4:01:22 PM , Rating: 2
No one's ever thought of this? I find that hard to believe. Either the article is simplifying things or these researchers are grossly overselling their research.

For crying out loud, a search for "Multi-drug chemotherapy" returns more than 2 million hits. So I'll be generous and ask, what makes this different from what thousands of oncologists have been doing for decades?




Data Driven Analyses
By rogue_horse on 7/24/2013 7:55:26 AM , Rating: 2
They developed this theoretical model by analysing a "dataset"? As they say in the world of data analysis, "Torture data enough and it will confess to anything".




Worst explanation of cure ever...
By Ramstark on 7/24/2013 12:05:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"If any of those mutations are the same, then it's a disaster. If there's even a single mutation that can defeat both drugs, that is usually good enough for the cancer -- it will become resistant, and treatment will fail. What this means is we have to develop drugs such that the cancer needs to make two independent steps -- if we can do that, we have a good chance to contain it."


= Mathematical crap...




Worst explanation of cure ever...
By Ramstark on 7/24/2013 12:05:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"If any of those mutations are the same, then it's a disaster. If there's even a single mutation that can defeat both drugs, that is usually good enough for the cancer -- it will become resistant, and treatment will fail. What this means is we have to develop drugs such that the cancer needs to make two independent steps -- if we can do that, we have a good chance to contain it."


= Mathematical crap...




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