Journal article

A streamlined search technology for identification of synergistic drug combinations

A major key to improvement of cancer therapy is the combination of drugs. Mixing drugs that already exist on the market may offer an attractive alternative. Here we report on a new model-based streamlined feedback system control (s-FSC) method, based on a design of experiment approach, for rapidly finding optimal drug mixtures with minimal experimental effort. We tested combinations in an in vitro assay for the viability of a renal cell adenocarcinoma (RCC) cell line, 786-O. An iterative cycle of in vitro testing and s-FSC analysis was repeated a few times until an optimal low dose combination was reached. Starting with ten drugs that target parallel pathways known to play a role in the development and progression of RCC, we identified the best overall drug combination, being a mixture of four drugs (axitinib, erlotinib, dasatinib and AZD4547) at low doses, inhibiting 90% of cell viability. The removal of AZD4547 from the optimized drug combination resulted in 80% of cell viability inhibition, while still maintaining the synergistic interaction. These optimized drug combinations were significantly more potent than monotherapies of all individual drugs (p < 0.001, CI < 0.3).


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