No matter what type of chemotherapy you attack a tumor with, many cancer cells resort to the same survival tactic: They start eating themselves. This autophagy process happens when two proteins pair up and switch it on this process, according to a new paper.
"This gives us a therapeutic avenue to target autophagy in tumors," says Brigham Young University chemistry professor Josh Andersen. "The idea would be to make tumors more chemo-sensitive. You could target these proteins and the mechanism of this switch to block autophagy, which would allow for lower doses of chemotherapy while hopefully improving patient outcomes."