July 24, 2018 – Understanding Cancer


Anchor lead: A look at the development of resistance in cancer cells has already borne fruit, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Sophisticated mathematical modeling along with analysis of head and neck cancer cells as they acquired resistance over time has produced at least one surprise. That’s according to Elana Fertig, senior author of the study and associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins.

Fertig: What is regulating the resistance? We were expecting that one of the critical changes, the shape of DNA, was going to be the responsible driver for causing the resistance to therapy. And it turned out that that wasn’t the case. It turns out that what we observed in our system was that that critical shape of the DNA was associated with stabilization of the resistance, and it occurred later.   :30

Fertig says this DNA shape shifting could potentially be used as a biomarker to assess changes in someone’s cancer that may necessitate a change in therapy. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.