Scientists discover how to switch off cancer cells in a breakthrough which could lead to new treatments and turn cancerous cells back to normal.
Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Florida in the U.S. said “it was like applying the brakes to a speeding car.” They program cancer cells to grow normally again through a process involved in the production of microRNAs.
Their Experiments demonstrated a method to turn cancerous breast and bladder cells benign by restoring the function which prevents them from multiplying excessively and forming dangerous growths, according to sources.
Panos Anastasiadis, senior researcher of the study published in the journal Nature Cell Biology, said that their research reveals an unexpected new biology that provides the code, the software for turning off cancer and the study uncovers “a new strategy for cancer therapy.”
“Initial experiments in some aggressive types of cancer are indeed very promising,” Dr. Anastasiadis said.
He thinks the approach, detailed in the journal Nature Cell Biology, would apply to most cancers, other than brain and blood cancers.
“By administering the affected microRNAs in cancer cells to restore their normal levels, we should be able to re-establish the brakes and restore normal cell function,” Dr Anastasiadis said.
“That led us to believe that these molecules have two faces: a good one, maintaining the normal behaviour of the cells and a bad one that drives tumorigenesis.” Dr. Anastasiadis said the study focuses on a protein called PLEKHA7 that helps healthy cells clump together.
Senior science information manager Henry Scowcroft said “This important study solves a long-standing biological mystery, but we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves.”
Mr. Sowcroft said “there’s a long way to go before we know whether these findings, in cells grown in a laboratory, will help treat people with cancer. But it’s a significant step forward in understanding how certain cells in our body know when to grow, and when to stop…”
He added that “Understanding these key concepts is crucial to help continue the encouraging progress against cancer we’ve seen in recent years.” IMAGE/medinc.co.uk