Mass Cytometry Helps to Provide Effective Cancer Drug Combinations

New technology has been used to expose the response of individual cancer cells against anticancer treatment and therapies, suggesting the best cancer drug combinations.  A Mass cytometry (CyTOF) technology was used by Stanford University and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute to examine the range of about twenty proteins in millions of blood cancer cells of an individual. CyTOF exposed the response of cancerous cells against various anticancer drugs and also helped in offering efficient treatments.

The detailed findings of the study are available in the journal Cell Death and Differentiation.

Researchers believe that CyTOF could be used in clinical trials to comprehend the resistance of anti-cancer treatments in some individuals and to know the best treatment by choosing appropriate biomarkers.

 Daniel gray and Charis Teh from Walter and Eliza Hall Institute along with  Melissa Ko and  Garry Nolan from Stanford University have worked on this study.

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Dr. Teh revealed that cancers are composed of millions of similar individual cells while the recent studies failed to know differences between individual cells and only focused on cells grouped. He adds that the team wanted to know the dissimilarities between individual cancer cells on the molecular level and this could help to find out how it affects the response of cancer cells to treatments.

The level of different proteins can be measured even in a single cell by mass cytometry. Australian-American Fulbright Commission provided funds thus this financial aid helped Dr. Teh to stay at Stanford University to gain knowledge about mass cytometry and to measure the level of proteins that regulate the survival, signaling, division, and growth of cancer cells.

Mass cytometry precisely and simultaneously measures the level of twenty-six different proteins in myeloma derived cancer cell line of blood. Researchers concentrated on determining why some cells are more resistant than others to anticancer drugs. The team study CyTOF results of cells and classifies which cells survived when treated with standard drugs that are used in myeloma treatment and determine what makes them different from sensitive cells.

The research group found a protein responsible for the survival or death of cells when treated with bortezomib or dexamethasone (myeloma drugs) and revealed that MLC-1 is that protein when overproduced in the cancer cells can increase cell survival.

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Drugs are already available to inhibit MLC-1 therefore, the team checked these MLC-1 inhibitor drugs against cancer cells and found that the use of these drugs made the cancer cells less resistant to dexamethasone. 

Daniel Gray revealed that mass cytometry may play an important role in delivering detailed scanning of individuals samples from clinical trials and suggested that several biomarkers developed in this study could help researchers to comprehend the response of cancer cells against anticancer treatment as well as it could help researchers to hunt for new drug combinations.

Differences in the response of patients to anti-cancer treatments and how small part of cancer cells become resistant to anticancer treatment could understand if mass cytometry is added to the analysis of clinical studies.

The findings of the study are helpful to identify some proteins as biomarkers that can foresee the response of an individual to anticancer treatments and to refer the best treatments to patients.


Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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