New Therapeutic Approach

A scientific paper describes how the inhibition of a protein, CHEK1, may be an effective element to incorporate into therapies for women with ovarian cancer.

The research led by Doctor David Azorsa, a Senior Investigator, and Doctor Shilpi Arora, a Staff Scientist, found that inhibiting CHEK1 by a small molecule known as PD 407824, enabled ovarian cancer cells to be attacked again by cisplatin, a widely used platinum-based chemotherapy drug for women with ovarian cancer.

"PD 407824 is only available for laboratory research, but other drugs inhibiting CHEK1 are already used to treat patients in the clinic," said Doctor Raoul Tibes, one of the paper's senior a co-authors and an Associate Investigator in TGen's Clinical Translational Research Division.

The prognosis remains poor for patients with ovarian cancer, which kills nearly 14,600 women in the U.S. annually. The standard treatment for cancer of the ovaries, which produce human egg cells, is surgical removal of the cancer, followed by chemotherapy.

The TGen team proved their method in the research laboratory, which is very encouraging, considering that the use of protein inhibitors in combination with cisplatin, is also proving to be effective in clinical trials with cancer patients.

"The clinical relevance is high, as such novel molecular concepts — inhibiting the repair of cancer cells after treatment with chemotherapies — are in development for many different cancers," said Doctor Tibes, a medical oncologist.

"We actually have similar drug combinations that go after preventing cancer cells to repair themselves, in the clinic already, and we have seen early exciting results. Patients whose tumors had stopped responding to conventional chemotherapy have been made sensitive again, meaning some of these patients responded again to the chemotherapy. The importance of the paper is that it provides evidence that combinations of cisplatin and CHEK1 inhibitors may be worthwhile pursuing in patients with ovarian cancer," said Doctor Tibes.; Source: The Translational Genomics Research Institute