Novel drug combinations uncovered in new study published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics

A study by UVa researchers from the Center for Public Health Genomics and the Cancer Center was recently published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Previous data has shown that extracellular signals are transmitted through a network rather than hierarchical pathways suggesting why restricting a single component of a pathway is not sufficient in treating cancer. CPHG Assistant Professor Aaron Mackey and his fellow scientists performed a functional chemical genetic screen which was used to identify novel interactions between signaling inhibitors that would not be predicted based on current understanding. Over 300 drug combinations in nine melanoma cell lines were screened and the researchers identified pairs of compounds that show synergistic cytotoxicity. Synthetic lethal screening with small molecule inhibitors provides a pathway to rational combination therapies for melanoma was published Sept. 7, 2012 in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics OnlineFirst.