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article imageNew way of treating cancer

By Tim Sandle     Apr 7, 2014 in Science
Solna - Scientists have identified a new way of treating cancer. The concept is based on inhibiting a specific enzyme called MTH1, which cancer cells, unlike normal cells, require for survival.
The new study has shown that without this enzyme, toxic substances are incorporated into the cancer cell DNA, resulting in lethal DNA double-strand breaks in cancer cells.
The development of new anticancer agents generally focuses on targeting specific genetic defects in cancer cells. One problem here is that resistance eventually emerges. With the new study, the researchers have focused on general enzymatic activity that all cancers tested rely on. With this approach the effects are independent of the genetic changes found in specific cancers, which means that resistance is less likely.
The researchers hope that the concept can move forward to animal studies and eventually to human trials. This would be based on developing very selective inhibitors.
The research was led by Karolinska Institutet and the Science for Life Laboratory. The research has been published in the journal Nature, in a paper titled “MTH1 inhibition eradicates cancer by preventing sanitation of the dNTP pool.”
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