miRNAs for Treatment of Drug Resistant Breast Cancers

Tech ID:

Researchers at UT Health San Antonio have identified a microRNA that can uniquely sensitize drug-resistant, triple-negative breast cancer to chemotherapy drugs such as paclitaxel, providing a novel and potent potential therapeutic approach with lower toxicity and reduced side effects.



Disease-free survival is short-lived for women with triple-negative breast cancer, a form of the disease that doesn't respond to hormone drugs and becomes resistant to chemotherapy.  Because drug resistance accounts for treatment failure in more than 90% of patients with metastatic breast cancer, overcoming mechanisms of resistance is crucial for the effective management of breast cancer, particularly once the disease has metastasized.


UT Health SA researchers have identified miRNA inhibitors that uniquely sensitize drug resistant triple negative breast cancers  to paclitaxel, a drug commonly used as a first line treatment for triple negative breast cancers. In addition, one candidate sensitizer miRNA has shown drastically reduced expression in several cancers and, when introduced systemically, acts as a potent tumor suppressor for several known tumor causing genes.


Using nanoparticle-based approaches, the researchers have shown that systemic delivery of the candidate sensitizer miRNA suppressed breast cancer lung metastasis without any hepatotoxicity in preclinical mouse tumor models. This microRNA has the potential to improve a patient's tolerance for treatment because, when it is delivered along with chemo, it conditions the tumor so that it responds to a much lower dose of the drug. Therefore, many side effects would be prevented.

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