UGA Logo Modification of a certain protein seems to be effective in treating pancreatic cancer. A latest research claims that a cell-surface protein called CNT1 can be modified to boost the efficacy of gemcitabine in fighting pancreatic cancer. Gemcitabine is known as one of the most common drugs to tackle pancreatic cancer.

The drug gemcitabine possibly enters into the DNA of cancer cells and hampers replication. Most pancreatic tumor cells may be resistant to gemcitabine, which adds to the difficulty in treating the disease. In the current research, investigators laid hands on different methods to improve CNT1 function and slow growth of the tumor cells. It then appeared that additional drugs can be presumably put to use for inhibiting pathways that degrade CNT1. Hence, the normal function can not only be restored, but also more gemcitabine will be supposedly transported into the tumor cells.

“The transporter was failing to take up the drug, so there were a bunch of different drug-resistant tumor cells,” added lead investigator Raj Govindarajan, assistant professor of pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences in the UGA College of Pharmacy. “Therapies that restore CNT1 could increase the effectiveness of the drug by helping carry the drug into the cell.”

Similar results were presumably obtained by genetically augmenting CNT1. It was asserted that over-expressed protein in tumor cells can help in improving the efficacy of gemcitabine. Experts point out that CNT1 is controlled by tiny RNA molecules known as micro-RNAs. These micro-RNAs may aid in elevating CNT1 expression and tumor-cell targeting gemcitabine as well. Additional investigations can be undertaken on laboratory animals to confirm the research findings and possibilities of combining additional therapies with gemcitabine.

The research is published in the March edition of the journal Cancer Research.