The reason why ovarian cancer becomes resistant to chemotherapy over a period of time has always fascinated and puzzled the researchers. Now, a team of researchers from the University of Michigan has come up with a possible reason.
Ovarian cancer consists of two types of cells – good and bad. The bad cells called fibroblast stops responding to chemotherapy drugs. On the other hand, the good, or immune T-cells, help reverse that effect.
Researchers have always thought that chemoresistance occurs because of genetic alterations in the affected individual. However, the recent study proves that it is not the case.
During the study, the research team derived samples of affected tissue from ovarian cancer patients. The cells were isolated by their type, so that the researchers are able to see the environment of the cells in mice and humans and then correlate it with the actual prognosis.
The researchers also discovered that the fibroblasts tend to block platinum, which is often recommended as a part of the platinum-based chemotherapy drug cisplatin. Thus, the drug is unable to kill the cancer cells. On the other hand, the immune T-cells nullify the effect of the bad cells. Infusing immune T-cells into fibroblasts helps patients respond to the treatment as before.
The researchers, thus, suggest a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy for the treatment of ovarian cancer patients. That is, providing immune T-cells to the patients who have developed resistance against the treatment can help make chemotherapy effective again.
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