Dr. Sridhar Ramaswamy, from Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, on Dormant Tumor Cells and Resistance
Sridhar Ramaswamy, MD, Tucker Gosnell Investigator and Associate Professor of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School, Broad Institute of Harvard & MIT, and Harvard Stem Cell Institute, discusses ongoing research into drug tolerance and resistance, specifically the roll of dormant cancer cells.
If a tumor goes into remission as a result of a cancer drug and then recurs it is likely that the tumor will still respond to the initial treatment. In the dormant state the cells are resistance, in the original they are sensitive. The exact mechanism behind this has yet to be discovered. In some cases giving a course, stopping, and then continuing later on can create an additive effect, an idea that Ramaswamy calls a drug holiday.
A comparison is underway between drug and non-drug induced dormant cells in order to find the mechanism that causes resistance. The ultimate goal of the research is to be able to predict and stop drug resistance.