According to a recent study published in Nature Communications by Weill Cornell Medicine investigator Dr. Dan Avi Landau the rate at which genetically mutated cancer cells grow could be a key to explaining why some CLL patients develop resistance to treatment. Dr. Landau’s findings demonstrate how an individual’s cell mutations can influence that individual’s response to treatment, leading to the development of resistance to treatments like ibrutinib. CLL patients who are treatment resistant require treatment strategies that take account of their treatment resistance. Using mathematical modeling researchers investigated how:
“…some patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)…become resistant to the drug ibrutinib, which is used to treat the disease once other chemotherapy drugs have failed. They performed mathematical modeling of the growth rates of the sensitive and resistant cells, and discovered that a small cluster of cancer cells survived ibrutinib therapy due to a genetic mutation that was present prior to treatment, allowing these ibrutinib-resistant cells to multiply and the disease to progress unabated. The findings could offer scientists a framework to guide the development of combination therapies that overcome drug resistance in CLL and in other cancers.”
These findings could potentially allow for physicians to develop more precise treatment plans for patients. In theory physicians could be more easily able to treat their patients not just for their present conditions, but also take into account their future conditions.