Challenges with drug combinations

Andreas Strasser, MSc, PhD of the The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Parkville, Australia, discusses the combination of drugs for the treatment of cancer at the 2016 National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Conference in Liverpool, UK. Prof. Strasser starts by explaining that most cancer therapies that actually work are multi-drug treatment therapies. These BH3 mimetics as these drugs are called, will only rarely work as a single agent in a therapeutic setting. The Bcl-2 inhibitor in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is probably going to be the only one where this will happen. Therefore, these drugs will mostly be used in combination with existing therapies. He believes that they will work best in combination with the so called inhibitors of oncogenic kinases such as the BRAF inhibitor, MIF inhibitor in melanoma or the EGFR inhibitors in lung cancers and many others of these types of drugs.

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