New way to treat ovarian cancer

By Bhavya Khullar

A group of Indian scientists have discovered a new way to treat ovarian cancer. It has been found that ovarian cancer cells that are resistant to the anticancer drug, cisplatin, have high levels of a protein called KDM3A. If a new drug can be found to deplete this protein, it will boost the fight against ovarian cancer. Such drugs or inhibitors are already know, but they have to tested against ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is the third leading site for cancer in women in India, after cervix and breast. More than 60% of the women, who have ovarian cancer, do not survive beyond five years. After it is diagnosed, ovarian tumor is removed by surgery and the patient is treated with chemotherapy drugs like cisplatin. In most cases, the tumor becomes resistant to chemotherapy and starts growing again. This is because the tumor has cancer stem cells. These cells are a subset of tumor cells that overcome chemotherapy and do not die in the presence of anticancer drugs. Researchers at the Dr. ALM PG Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Madras studied ovarian cancer stem cells. They found that cells that are resistant to chemotherapy have high levels of the protein KDM3A, which controls the expression of DNA at specific locations.
Ovarian cancer samples from human patients had this protein in abundance. When scientists depleted it, cancer cells died. Moreover, it also killed cancer stem cells that could not be killed by the chemotherapy drug cisplatin. In a mouse with ovarian tumor, removing KDM3A reduced the size of the tumor significantly. The study was done in collaboration with David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles in USA. Scientists published their results in the international journal Oncogene. Scientists say, “KDM3A protein can be a potential drug target that can be exploited to device a novel therapy against drug-resistant ovarian cancer.” The research team included S Ramadoss, S Sen, I Ramachandran, S Roy, G Chaudhuri, and R Farias-Eisne.
(India Science Wire)

Vinod Kumar

Health Journalist & writer. Editor of monthly health magazine "Health Spectrum."

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