Scientists at the University of Utah have isolated different types of small cell lung cancer tumors in mice and found that they respond differently to different drug combinations.
Trudy G. Oliver, PhD, an investigator at HCI and assistant professor in oncological sciences at the University of Utah, led the study. She says, “Currently when small cell lung cancer patients come in, there is no genetic testing for them. They’re just diagnosed with small cell and they are all treated basically the same way. But our research showed small cell tumors do not all act alike. That becomes very important in how a patient is treated.”
Using mice, Oliver’s team created the first known replica of a small cell tumor subgroup called C-MYC. Researchers estimate this tumor makes up about one-fifth of patients with small cell lung cancer. As scientists studied these tumors, they began to see a pattern of distinct properties.
“The C-MYC tumors physically look different under the microscope,” says Oliver. “They’re much more aggressive. They grow faster and they spread faster. And most importantly, they respond differently to therapy.”
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