Cancer cells programmed back to normal by US scientists
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Science!
Scientists have turned cancerous cells back to normal by switching back on the process which stops normal cells from replicating too quickly.
Cancer cells have been programmed back to normal by scientists in a breakthrough which could lead to new treatments and even reverse tumour growth.
For the first time aggressive breast, lung and bladder cancer cells have been turned back into harmless benign cells by restoring the function which prevents them from multiplying excessively and forming dangerous growths.
Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Florida, US, said it was like applying the brakes to a speeding car.
So far it has only been tested on human cells in the lab, but the researchers are hopeful that the technique could one day be used to target tumours so that cancer could be ‘switched off’ without the need for harsh chemotherapy or surgery.
It was surprisingly non-hyperbolic for a news item, too:
“I think in reality it is unlikely that you could reverse tumours by reversing just one mechanism, but it’s a very interesting finding.” Henry Scowcroft, Cancer Research UK’s senior science information manager, said: “This important study solves a long-standing biological mystery, but we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves.
“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. Understanding these key concepts is crucial to help continue the encouraging progress against cancer we’ve seen in recent years.”