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Curr Gene Ther. 2001 Nov;1(4):317-24.

Gene therapy to overcome drug resistance in cancer: targeting key regulators of the apoptotic pathway.

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Département de Microbiologie et Infectiologie, Faculté de Médecine, Université de Sherbrooke, 3001, 12ième Avenue Nord, Sherbooke, Canada.


A better understanding of the molecular events responsible for the development of drug resistance in cancer cells has emerged in recent years. It is now established that tumor cells can acquire drug resistance by alterations of pathways involved in the regulation of apoptosis and that failure to activate this pathway in cancer cells may confer resistance to chemotherapy. This resistance to drug-induced apoptosis is likely to play an important role in tumors that are refractory to chemotherapy. The identification of points in the apoptotic pathway at which dysregulation occurs opens up new therapeutic opportunities in situations where conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy approaches fail. Although these gene therapy-based strategies are still in their infancy they will likely lead to more effective treatments for human cancers. This review will focus on gene therapy strategies developed to specifically target the apoptotic pathway and how these strategies can affect the sensitivity of tumor cells to chemotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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