June 11, 2012
When chemotherapy fails to halt the spread of cancer, it is typically because new super cells develop resistance to the chemotherapy. Instead of dying off, the cells reject the medicine, are able to pump it out and continue to thrive and reproduce.
Scientists have long tried to find a drug to combat these super cells. Now biochemists Pia Vogel and John Wise in the Department of Biological Sciences in Dedman College are using SMU’s supercomputer to tackle the problem. Vogel and Wise are searching for a drug that will shut off the cancer cell “sump pump” so that chemotherapy can once again be effective. They are collaborating with other researchers at SMU’s Center for Drug Discovery, Design and Delivery.
“This is a desperate situation for people whose cancer returns in an aggressive state,” says Wise, a research associate professor. “We don’t want to knock out this sump-pump system permanently, but would like to find a drug that will inhibit the pump, then allow the body to return to its normal state.”...