Researchers aim to 'soften up' cancer cells
16 July 2015 09:29
Researchers are aiming to 'soften up' cancer cells
A new drug mix could soften up cancers for a final chemotherapy-induced knock-out blow, while lessening the chance of side-effects, early tests suggest.
UK scientists believe that targeting the Bcl-xl protein might lead to more successful cancer treatments.
This molecule inhibits the self-destructive activity which usually destroys cells tackled through chemotherapy medication.
Cancer Research UK's experiments have found a combination much more successful than using chemotherapy on its own.
They have proved that medication being trialled now which subdues Bcl-xl in tandem with taxane anti-cancer agents and chemotherapy is more effective, with fewer chances of side-effects.
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What they are saying about the breakthrough
Cancer Research UK's Stephen Taylor says the new discovery may open the door to enhancing the cancer-fighting potency of chemotherapy.
Prof Taylor, from the University of Manchester, said the new drug mix could effectively "soften up" cancerous cells.
This, he says, could make it easier for chemotherapy treatments to finally kill off a tumour.
It could also help reduce chemotherapy dosages and help lower side-effects. This is because chemotherapy can harm not only tumours but healthy cells too.
His charity colleague, Emma Smith, said cancer treatments will become kinder and more successful if health professionals can pinpoint which sufferers will profit from chemotherapy the most.
Dr Smith, the organisation's senior science information officer, said the tests are still in their infancy.
But she added that the technique could potentially better the treatment for lots of cancer sufferers, if the findings are verified in clinical tests.
The Cancer Cell journal has reported on the study.