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Study shows promise in fight against cancers resistant to chemotherapy

September 10, 2014

Resistance to chemotherapy is a major hurdle in the successful treatment of some cancers, and the reasons why these cancers are resistant to chemotherapy is still a mystery. But now, in a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Dr. Ben Tsang and doctoral student Bao Kong are helping to unravel this story. In their study, they showed that the chemotherapy drug cisplatin causes ovarian and cervical cancer cells to produce a protein that breaks apart their mitochondria (a cell's energy source) and leads to the cells’ death. Dr. Tsang showed that the tumour suppressor gene called p53 was required for cisplatin to be effective. In addition, they report that activating p53 in chemo-resistant cells increased cancer cell death regardless of the presence of cisplatin. The paper's findings offer potential new strategies for overcoming resistance to chemotherapy in ovarian and cervical cancer treatments. Read the study here.

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The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the university’s Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. OHRI includes more than 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

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