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Tumour Cells Shifted In “Deep Sleep”

Tumour Cells Shifted In “Deep Sleep”

By Marietta Gross - Scoop Media Auckland.

Scientists of the Marie Curie Research Institute have managed to block the growth of carcinoma by shifting the tumour cells into permanent “deep sleep”, reports the BBC. This breakthrough in cancer research has the potential for completely new methods of treatment, explained the experts.

The new method is based on the reactivation of a natural self defence mechanism, which blocks the cell division of mutated and harmful cells. The key role in this process is taken by the so called Tbx2 gene, which sabotages the self-protection of the cells.

Scientific reports assumed until now, that this mechanism of self-protection is not functioning within already afflicted cells and so the sick cells are rapidly spreading.

But the new study, which investigated a fatal type of skin cancer, the so called Malignant Melanoma, proved, that this is not the case.

The scientists were able to elicit the gene, which has a negative impact on the mechanism of self-protection and thereby interferes with the growth of the tumour. By deactivating this gene the researchers managed to stop the tumour growth, because the sick cells lost their ability for further division. It’s not yet clear if this gene is responsible for the tumour growth of all types of cancer or only of this special disease.

“The advantage of this natural mechanism consists therein, that only sick cancer cells are automatically attacked and not healthy ones”, explained executive researcher Colin Goding. “Producing a medicine, which reactivates this process, would mean an immense breakthrough. Because until now we have only limited possibilities of therapy, when the tumour has already expanded to other parts of the body”, said the expert. But the scientists expect the development of effective medicine as recently as within 10 years.

Nevertheless the study represents an important approach for future cancer research.

“This protecting self-defence mechanism doesn’t only serve as basis for further research in the area of skin cancer, but also for other rapidly growing cancers such as prostate, breast and pancreatic cancer, of which only in Great Britain die 30.000 people per year”, explained Mark Matfield from the Association for International Cancer Research.

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