Lung-cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths, with less than a 21% 5-year survival rate, making treatments for lung-cancer an important medical and biological research topic. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a type of lung-cancer that is primarily driven by mutations to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene, an important gene in cell growth and division (proliferation). A non-surgical treatment for NSCLC uses tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), which is a type of anti-EGFR treatment that induces programmed cell death in the targeted cancer cells.
Currently, TKI treatments are only effective on a subsection of NSCLC patients and on average, the treatment loses its effectiveness after a year. This is due to the cancer cells developing resistance to the treatment, similarly to how bacteria become resistant to antibiotics after many repeated exposures.
To keep improving this NSCLC treatment technique, it is important to understand the mechanism(s) involved in the development of TKI resistance in the cancer cells. Professor Martin-Fernandez's review highlights the contributions and future importance of fluorescence imaging in investigating TKI function and resistance in NSCLC treatments. Fluorescence imaging is a non-destructive (does not kill the targeted cells) microscopy technique used to monitor cells and their internal workings. This is done by staining cells with fluorescent dyes (fluorochromes). Light is then shone on these fluorescent cells to make them fluoresce (glow) and they are then studied.
Non-destructive imaging techniques, like fluorescence imaging, are very important in biological research when reactions and functions need to be studied in cells. Therefore, this technique is very useful for studying the mechanism(s) involved in TKI function and resistance in NSCLC cells.
Find out more by reading the publication.