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Carcinogenic cells that commit suicide: is the final victory? – Science


In the fight against cancer, researchers resort to increasingly innovative methods. One of them seems to have now been shown to manipulate cancerous cells that are suicidal.

The predisposition to cancer is also found in genes, since we now know it. They control the frequency with which the cells of the body are multiplied. If this happens to a large extent, dangerous illness may arise. With chemotherapy, doctors can fight the cells, with unpleasant side effects for the patients. But there are more and more hopes for alternatives. A mice method has now been successfully tested. self-destructive the cancerous cells It could be the solution.

The suicide of cancer cells: This could be an outlet

For patients, chemotherapy is not a walk. Treatment with certain medications can cause serious side effects, such as nausea and hair loss. This is due to the fact that cancer cells can not be divided, so that the tumor does not grow. However, therapy can restrict cell division throughout the body. That's why doctors are intensely investigating an alternative to chemotherapy. And that could already be found.

An approach is to manipulate cancer cells to be destroyed. Now it has been successfully tested with mice. This is reported by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in the journal Nature Cell Biology.

The cause of suicide: the MYC gene

That's why they had to find a way to block the MYC gene. This is responsible for the speed at which cells grow and divide. Malignant tumors can develop if this process causes a chain reaction that also causes degenerate cells. The body can not kill cancer cells. Therefore, it should not exist.

Thus, the scientists had to make a detour. Instead of directly disconnecting the MYC gene, they inhibited the ATF-4 protein. This has a great impact on MYC. If missing, the gene can not continue to grow or divide the cells. As a result, the cancerous cell produces large amounts of a protein and eventually dies.

Not ready for great rest

The method was tested in a dozen mice with colon cancer and lymph nodes. The inhibitory ATF-4 prevented the development of cancer. It is still unclear whether the process can also work in the human body. However, the researchers agree with the fact that ATF-4 drug production is already approved. "We are still investigating the side effects of blockade of ATF-4 in cancer cells," said PhD student Feven Tameire, who is participating in the study.

Therefore, it may take several years to apply the conclusions to the human body. Including unpredictable events is a natural part of medical research. In this case, for example, it should be noted that each cancer behaves differently.

More and more progress

However, scientific advances in recent years are huge. By the beginning of 2019, doctors already announced that they could cure cancer by the end of the year. The sensational message is considered extremely doubtful. But the new technologies and methods give hope to a positive development that can eventually kill cancer cells. This nanotechnology is also fighting against cancer.

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