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Scientists have discovered a way to improve the success of a drug used to combat ovarian cancer, it has emerged.
The study found that the loss of a protein called TGFBI causes Taxol (paclitaxel) to fail.
The drug is a common chemotherapy treatment, but only 50% of patients with the disease respond well to it.
Now experts at the Cambridge Research Institute at Cambridge University have found people who have no response to the drug have less TGFBI in their pre-treatment samples, compared with those whose condition improved.
Dr James Brenton, who lead the study, said: “TGFBI is lost in one third of primary ovarian cancers and it is possible that this protein could be used as a biomarker for selecting patients likely to respond to this class of drug.
“Our findings offer hope not only for improved ovarian cancer treatment, it may also lead to improvements in the success rate of other taxane drugs used to treat lung and breast cancer.”
Prof Herbie Newell, Cancer Research UK’s director of translational research, said: “We are entering a period of cancer treatment where more drugs are targeted at those people who will benefit the most.
“This personalised medicine approach potentially means treatments will be more effective with fewer side-effects.”
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