Treatment of these tumors has recently changed to immunotherapy, but although these drugs often result in positive results in patients with MSI-H cancer, resistance to treatment appears, according to the Science Daily quoted by Discovera.ro.
"Our therapy is based on exploring the biological systems that cancer cells (rather than the healthy ones) have," said Simon Wöhrle, author of the study at the Boehringer Ingelheim Regional Center in Vienna, Austria. "Before developing new treatments against MSI-H cancer cells, we must first understand what helps them to survive," he added.
The team of researchers demonstrated that the removal of WRN protein function from MSI-H cells stopped its proper functioning, leading to defects in cell division. "In particular, we have seen that MSI-H cancer cells without WRN showed chromosomal breaks and genome instability, revealing that WRN is a vulnerability of MSI-H cells," said Mark Petronczki, another study author, director of cancer cell signaling of Boehringer Ingelheim RCV.
Since the loss of WRN proteins is a known cause of Werner's syndrome, a disease that causes premature aging associated with an increased risk of developing tumors. Contrary to the latter idea, the present study shows that WRN plays a key role in suppressing tumor growth.