Birinapant & Carboplatin Combination Could Offer New Treatment Option for Ovarian Cancer, Animal Studies & Human Disease-in-a-Dish Models Suggest; Clinical Trial Contemplated; Effectiveness in Other Cancers Also Suggested

Researchers have been trying to understand why up to 85 percent of women experience recurrence of high-grade serous ovarian cancer -- the most common subtype of ovarian cancer -- after standard treatment with the chemotherapy drug carboplatin. Preclinical research from Sanaz Memarzadeh (photo), MD, PhD, who is a member of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA, has potentially solved this mystery and pinpointed a combination therapy that may be effective for up to 50 percent of women with ovarian cancer. Dr. Memarzadeh's research, published online on April 3, 2017 in Precision Oncology, shows a new combination therapy of carboplatin and an experimental drug called birinapant can improve survival in mice with ovarian cancer tumors. Additional findings reveal that testing for a specific protein could identify ovarian tumors for which the treatment could be effective. Importantly, the treatment could also target cancers that affect other parts of the body, including the bladder, cervix, colon, and lung cancer. The open-access article is titled “Birinapant sensitizes platinum-resistant carcinomas with high levels of cIAP to carboplatin therapy.” In 2015, Dr. Memarzadeh and her team uncovered and isolated carboplatin-resistant ovarian cancer stem cells. These cells have high levels of proteins called cIAPs, which prevent cell death after chemotherapy.
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