A drug to treat all kinds of cancer is on its way. A team of scientists have claimed to have found a way to turn the breast cancer pill into an effective medication for all types of cancer. This breast cancer pill is known to be a “wonder drug” for the disease a the group of scientists at Newcastle leading the research can transform it into a drug useful for all types of cancer. It is expected that the new drug can reduce most if not all types of tumours.
The researchers are excited about PARP inhibitors; a group of cancer drugs which have an adverse effect on the ability of tumour cells to repair themselves. These drugs are used for targeting instances of hereditary breast cancer, ovarian prostrate cancer and pancreatic tumour, all of which have one cancer-causing gene.
What is particularly important in this new development of anti-cancerous drug is that only the cells affected by the cancer are targeted while the healthy ones are left untouched. Unlike chemotherapy or radiotherapy in which many healthy cells get damaged, now patients will suffer from very few side-effects by using this drug. Nausea and tiredness would be minimal.
The hereditary forms of breast cancer are caused by a flawed gene, the BRCA. Such a gene limits a cell’s ability to repair its damage. There are two ways in which the healthy cells repair their damage while the BRCA affected cells have only one.
The PARP inhibitors of the breast cancer drug block this pathway of making good the damage, thus preventing the cells from multiplying and eventually perishing. This is the basis of the curative property this drug has. The team of scientists hopes to recreate the effect of this drug on all types of tumours, even those which do not have the BRCA genetic flaw.
Experiments carried out on mice having lung tumour have shown that restricting a molecule known as Cdk1 also prevented the repair of the DNA. They were tested with doses of PARP inhibitors and successful results were obtained in shrinking their cancerous tumours.
According to Nicola Curtin, one of the researchers from Newcastle University, blocking Cdk1 in cancer cells allows for the use of PARP inhibitors. This means that more patients are likely to benefit in the future. The only task left is to develop an effective drug for blocking Cdk1.
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