Oct 30, 2018

Discovery of cancer ‘kill code’ could inspire new treatments

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

I have always said the trick with being diagnosed with cancer is living long enough to see newer and better therapies coming out to help you outlive your own diagnosis:

Scientists at Northwestern University have discovered a “kill code” in every cell of the body that’s triggered by chemotherapy and that causes cancerous cells to self-destruct. What’s more, they’ve learned enough about the code that they’ve figured out how to trigger it without chemo—a finding that they believe could lead to new therapies.

The discovery, reported in the journals Nature Communications and eLife, is a code that’s found in both large and small ribonucleic acids (RNAs). The researchers also have early evidence that the small RNAs, called microRNAs, can be introduced into cells to trigger the kill switch.

“My goal was not to come up with a new artificial toxic substance,” said lead author Marcus Peter, Ph.D., a professor of cancer metabolism at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, in a statement. “I wanted to follow nature’s lead. I want to utilize a mechanism that nature developed.”

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