Narrator: This is Science Today. A discovery by
researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, is shedding new
light on how some cancers develop resistance to drug therapy. Oncologist Pamela
Munster explains that changes in gene expression, called epigenetic
modification, play a major role in allowing tumors to escape therapy.
Munster: The tumors don't have to have a genetic mutation to develop resistance. They can actually develop a method to up-regulate or down-regulate genes.
Narrator: Munster's team has shown
that epigenetic modification in some breast cancers affects a certain protein
involved in glucose metabolism called AKT. This protein plays an essential role
in allowing cancer cells to survive even the harshest of environments. In the
future, Munster hopes to use AKT as a biomarker to detect genetic changes to
cancer cells early enough to stop drug resistance from happening in the first
Munster: We feel pretty confident that we can reverse resistance. The
question is, can we prevent it?
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.