The research article from Georgia Tech addresses an important issue in the current battle against cancer – the development of resistance to anticancer drugs, which leads to the loss of efficacy of chemotherapeutic treatment. Besides developing new anticancer drugs, it is equally important to discover how to reduce, if not circumvent, the development of resistance to anticancer drugs. Otherwise, efforts to develop new anticancer drugs would be made redundant due to resistance development. In order to tackle this critical issue, Dreaden et al. focus on one of the molecular targets that is responsible for resistance development, the multidrug resistance 1 P-glycoprotein (MDR1 P-gp). P-gp is a plasma membrane protein that effectuates the efflux of many xenobiotics, including anticancer drugs, out of cancerous cells. This efflux action renders the chemotherapeutics less efficacious at destroying the cancerous cells. While the efflux of small molecule drugs by P-gp is well-studied, the action of P-gp on gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) is unknown. This is evidently important to know given that AuNPs are gaining importance as an effective anticancer delivery platform, having have successfully undergone Phase I clinical trials.
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