Apr 232012
Micrograph of small cell carinoma of the lung,...

Micrograph of small cell carinoma of the lung, also small cell lung cancer. FNA specimen. Field stain. The image shows the key features of small cell lung cancer (SCLC): Nuclear moulding. Salt and pepper chromatin. Scant cytoplasm. Small cell is so named as the tumour cells are small relative to other carcinomas, e.g. adenocarcinoma; small cell has large cells relative to most lymphomas. See also Image:Squamous carcinoma lung cytology.gif (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Only the tumour cells die

New research findings show how it may be possible to render cancer tumours harmless without affecting the other cells and tissues in the body. The findings apply to cancers including breast, lung and bowel cancer. The study was carried out at Lund University in Sweden.

Many of the most common chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer have serious side effects because they not only affect the cells in the cancer tumour, but also the cells in the rest of the body.

Researchers at Lund University have now found a connection between two proteins that in different ways control cell division and the possibilities for a cancer tumour to develop. The retinoblastoma protein obstructs cell division and is absent in most types of cancer tumour. The new findings show that its absence leads to an increase in another protein, gamma-tubulin, which, when present in high levels, encourages the development of cancer tumours. However, if gamma-tubulin is blocked, the tumour cells die while the healthy cells survive.

The researchers are now looking for substances that can stop the effect of gamma-tubulin on cell division. This could form the basis for a new drug that works on various types of cancer and has a low risk of side effects if the substance is directed to the right place. This is because it is only the tumour cells that die.

Read more . . .

via Science Daily

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