An experimental drug blocks two points of a crucial cancer cell signalling pathway and thus inhibits the growth of ovarian cancer cells, new research has revealed.
The study at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center performed on mouse models also showed significant increase of survival in mice with ovarian cancer.
The drug, called NVP-BEZ235, also inhibits growth of ovarian cancer cells that have become resistant to the conventional treatment with platinum chemotherapy, and helps to re-sensitize the cancer cells to the therapy.
It also enhances the effect of platinum chemotherapy on ovarian cancer cells that are still responding to the therapy, said Oliver Dorigo, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and senior author of the study.
Dorigo focused his research on a pathway called PI3Kinase/Akt/mTOR, which once activated promotes ovarian cancer growth.
The activated pathway also makes the cancer more aggressive and more likely to spread to other organs, so targeting it offers great promise for more effective therapies for the disease, according to him.
The study has been published in the April 15, 2011 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research.