• Press Release

Novel Drug Cocktails Strengthen Targeted Cancer Therapies While Lessening Side Effects

  • New York, NY
  • (August 01, 2018)

Mount Sinai researchers have discovered that certain drug cocktails help targeted therapies attack cancer more efficiently while lessening common side effects, according to a study published today in Cancer Research.

The cocktails could also help stave off cancer’s ability to become resistant to drugs, by attacking from multiple angles the cancer’s ability to grow. The cocktails, which include chemotherapy, anti-tumor antibiotics, and chemical compounds, are given at low doses that would normally not give a therapeutic benefit on their own. Instead, they bolster a patient’s response to a separate targeted therapy drug, which blocks enzymes that help cancer cells grow.

Researchers discovered this novel way to enhance targeted cancer drugs by testing the drug cocktails on human cancer cell lines, fruit flies, and mice. They believe the cocktails can be used with a targeted therapy drug or after a failed attempt with a targeted therapy drug. The researchers found that some of these drugs can be paired together in cocktails in multiple cancer types, potentially providing a treatment option for a wide variety of cancer patients.

“Targeted therapies have revolutionized cancer treatment by targeting fewer components within a human cell, thereby promising better efficacy and lower side effects compared to chemotherapy,” said Tirtha K. Das, PhD, Assistant Professor of Cell, Developmental and Regenerative Biology at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “Yet clinical trials show that targeted therapies still elicit side effects, and in many cases cancer cells develop resistance mechanisms to these therapies, eventually leading to disease progression in patients. Our work addresses the central question faced by physicians who treat cancer patients: how do targeted therapies both promote resistance in cancer cells and evoke toxic side effects in patients?”

This study, which created drug cocktails from targets found in genetic and drug screening, provides an innovative way to bolster current efforts at using targeted therapies to treat patients. Dr. Das and colleagues’ theory could prove useful with different drug cocktails that attack cancer growth from many angles, ultimately increasing the success of other targeted therapies in patients. Ross Cagan, PhD, Senior Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professor of Oncological Sciences and Cell, Developmental, and Regenerative Biology at The Tisch Cancer Institute of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, played a significant role in this project and served as a research advisor with Dr. Das. This research was supported by National Institutes of Health grants R01-CA170495 and R01-CA109730, Department of Defense grant W81XWH-15-1-0111 and American Cancer Society grants 120616-RSGM-11-018-01-CDD and 120886-PFM-11-137-01-DDC.


About the Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.

Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in 4 out of 10 pediatric specialties. The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: It is consistently ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools," aligned with a U.S. News & World Report "Honor Roll" Hospital, and top 20 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding and top 5 in the nation for numerous basic and clinical research areas. Newsweek’s “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals” ranks The Mount Sinai Hospital as No. 1 in New York and in the top five globally, and Mount Sinai Morningside in the top 20 globally.

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