Overcoming tumor resistance to anti-cancer agent TRAIL

Mar 22, 2010

The TRAIL ligand is a promising anticancer agent that preferentially kills tumor cells without apparent damage to healthy cells. Many cancers exhibit resistance to TRAIL, however, thus limiting its therapeutic potential. According to a study in the March 22 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology, small molecules known to block Mcl-1 (induced myeloid leukemia cell differentiation protein) might represent a suitable means to overcome TRAIL resistance.

Researchers know that TRAIL-induced cell death entirely depends on the presence of Bax, which is a member of the proapoptotic Bcl-2 family of proteins and is often lost in cells for various reasons. Despite the expression of Bak, another that promotes dell death, Bax-deficient cells are resistant to TRAIL-induced death.

Peter Daniel (Humboldt University, Germany) and colleagues investigate the role of two Bcl-2 proteins—Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL—that keep Bak in check. The team's findings show that blocking Mcl-1 but not Bcl-xL overcame resistance to TRAIL-induced cell death in bax-deficient cells and enabled TRAIL to activate Bak. Blocking Bak inhibitors like Mcl-1 appears to be a promising strategy in limiting the resistance of cancers to .

Explore further: Unlocking the key to immunological memory in bacteria

More information: Gillissen, B., et al. 2010. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.200912070

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New therapeutic target for melanoma identified

Apr 16, 2009

A protein called Mcl-1 plays a critical role in melanoma cell resistance to a form of apoptosis called anoikis, according to research published this week in Molecular Cancer Research.

Recommended for you

Unlocking the key to immunological memory in bacteria

26 minutes ago

A powerful genome editing tool may soon become even more powerful. Researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have unlocked the key to how bacteria are able to "steal" genetic ...

Malaria transmission linked to mosquitoes' sexual biology

Feb 26, 2015

Sexual biology may be the key to uncovering why Anopheles mosquitoes are unique in their ability to transmit malaria to humans, according to researchers at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and University of Per ...

Intermediary neuron acts as synaptic cloaking device

Feb 26, 2015

Neuroscientists believe that the connectome, a map of each and every connection between the millions of neurons in the brain, will provide a blueprint that will allow them to link brain anatomy to brain function. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.