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Die and let live: harnessing BikDD to combat breast cancer stem cells

Mario Giuliano1, Meghana V Trivedi12 and Rachel Schiff1345*

Author Affiliations

1 Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA

2 Department of Clinical Sciences and Administration, University of Houston, College of Pharmacy, Houston, TX 77030, USA

3 Dan L Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA

4 Margaret M and Albert B Alkek Department of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA

5 Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA

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Breast Cancer Research 2012, 14:310  doi:10.1186/bcr3125

Published: 23 May 2012

Abstract

One of the possible mechanisms contributing to the intrinsic resistance of cancer stem cells (CSCs) to conventional therapies is the inefficiency of activating the apoptotic machinery. In a recent study by Lang and colleagues, the engineered constitutively active pro-apoptotic protein BikDD, which works by inhibiting multiple Bcl-2 family members, was tested in various preclinical breast cancer models. Delivered to cells via an innovative cancer cell-specific gene-therapy approach, BikDD showed potent activity against CSCs and synergized with lapatinib and paclitaxel treatment. This novel and promising therapy warrants further translation to the clinic.