Cancer cells can figure out how to resist chemotherapy.
There are several reasons why this can happen.
Cells that are not killed can mutate and change in response, repair drug-damaged DNA, or develop a mechanism that makes it useless.
Therefore, drug success often relies on the failure of cancer cell regeneration mechanisms.
Cancer cells can produce hundreds of copies of a particular gene, known as gene amplification, which triggers excessive protein production which stops the effectiveness of treatment.
Cancer cells are sometimes able to push the drug out of themselves, using a molecule called a p-glycoprotein.
Since chemotherapy is the first line of treatment, the main concern is when it fails.
Professor Workman, executive director of the Cancer Research Institute, said: ‘The ability of cancer to adapt, develop and become resistant to drugs is the cause of the vast majority of deaths from the disease and the biggest challenge we face in overcoming it.’