Cancer is often referred to as “smart,” and this term often refers to the ability of these cells to proliferate without purpose or restraint. The ability of cancer cells to develop multidrug resistance (MDR), a major problem that patients can face, making treatment against this disease even more elusive.
In an effort to combat both cancer cell proliferation and MDR, a recent study conducted by researchers from the National Health Research Institutes of Taiwan and the National Science Council of Taiwan have developed a nanosystem capable of addressing both challenges in the field of cancer therapy.
Drug Resistance and Cancer
Patients with several forms of blood cancer and solid tumors in the breast, ovaries, lungs and lower gastrointestinal tract can become untreatable as a result of multidrug resistance (MDR). In MDR, the cancer cells of these patients become resistant to commonly used therapeutic drugs as a result of an overexpression of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters that effectively push out drug molecules following administration. P-glycoprotein and what is termed as the multidrug resistance-associated protein (MRP) are two of the most studied pumps present in cancer cells that are capable of rejecting chemotherapeutic drugs. By avoiding the toxic effects of these drugs, cancer cells are able to continue to proliferate and metastasize to other organs of the body.
Unfortunately, some of the most commonly used cancer therapeutic drugs such as colchicine, vinblastine, doxorubicin, etoposide, paclitaxel, certain vinca alkaloids and other small molecules have shown resistance in various cancer cells. Current research efforts in the field of anticancer drug discovery have looked towards the administration of combinatorial technology to be administered with cancer to effectively prevent cancer cells from physically removing therapeutic drugs when administered together.