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News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

MIT study identifies dynamic drug duo that's surprisingly effective against cancer

• by Michael Irving

Now researchers at MIT have identified a surprising new dynamic drug duo, combining two classes that are already beginning to be widely used. Interestingly, the combo appears to work in a completely different way to what scientists previously expected.

The researchers started with a class of drugs called PLK1 inhibitors, which have proven effective in the past and are beginning to be tested in phase 2 clinical trials. The team set out to boost the effects of this type of drug, to see if it could be made even more effective.

PLK1 inhibitors primarily work by messing with mitosis, the process cancer cells use to divide and spread quickly. But as a side effect, they can also cause oxidative damage to cells – and this is the area the team wanted to give a leg up to. The researchers reasoned that PLK1 inhibitors could be even more potent a cancer-killer if they paired them up with another drug that prevents cells from repairing oxidative damage.