A group of Australian researchers have discovered that some of the most aggressive forms of cancers can be more effectively treated if chemotherapy is combined with a new class of anti-cancer drugs.
Researchers from Melbourne's Walter and Eliza Hall Institute found that combining chemotherapy with a new class of drugs known as ABT-737 will target BCL-2 proteins which are responsible for keeping the cancer cells alive.
Lead researcher Professor Geoff Lindeman said that while cancer cells are damaged by chemotherapy, BCL-2 proteins have been found to protect them and thereby preventing them from being completely destroyed.
The researchers combined chemotherapy with ABT-737 drugs and found it to be more effective among mice that had Basel-like breast cancer.
"In a couple of the models we looked at, chemotherapy alone was not effective in treating these tumours in mice but when combined with the new anti-BCL-2 treatment a durable response was seen in the mice with shrinkage in the tumours", Professor Lindeman wrote in his report that has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.