Washington [US], Nov 13 (ANI): One of the reasons for neuroblastoma’s resistance to chemotherapy has been discovered by researchers. The results are important for how treatments should be developed in the future.
Neuroblastoma is an aggressive cancer of the sympathetic nervous system, particularly of the adrenal gland. Despite intensive treatment with chemotherapy, the disease can be difficult to cure and the prognosis is poor for children who have the aggressive variant. One of the reasons is that the tumor often develops resistance to drugs. To understand what happens when the tumor becomes resistant, good disease models are needed that can mimic the complex drug treatment that patients are given today: “Tumors from patients with neuroblastoma look very different and it is difficult to produce a model that is representative of many patients . These types of challenges often limit medical research,” explains the study’s first author, Adriana Manas, child cancer researcher at Lund University.
However, the researchers have now succeeded in developing a model on mice with human neuroblastoma tumor cells, which makes it possible to follow the mechanisms that occur when certain tumor cells develop resistance to drugs.
“What happens is that the tumor cells change to mimic embryonic cells from the fetal development phase. These embryonic tumor cells are more resistant to chemotherapy,” says research team leader Daniel Bexell, who led the study.
It has long been known that genetic changes are crucial for neuroblastoma to form and develop into an aggressive tumor. But when it comes to resistance, it is not primarily about genetic changes, but rather that the cells quickly adapt their behavior. The reason why the embryonic tumor cells are less sensitive to drugs is not yet fully understood, but the researchers believe that the cells in their immature state can adapt and survive in changing conditions.
“Current treatment with chemotherapy targets rapidly dividing tumor cells. Our research findings may contribute to new treatments that better reach the entire tumor, to avoid the development of resistance. In future research, it will be important to understand how to specifically target embryonic state of the neuroblastoma cell to cure patients,” concluded Daniel Bexell. (ANI)