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Refusal of suicide order: Why tumor cells become resistant
Date:6/23/2008

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Researchers assume that this could be one of the reasons why radiation therapy or chemotherapy is sometimes ineffective. Both treatment methods cause severe damage to tumor cells, which eventually leads to programmed cell death. "If resistances occur, this is often caused by tumor cells 'refusing' to take the order to commit suicide," Thomas Hofmann explains.

To prevent HIPK2 degradation, Hoffmann and his colleagues conducted experiments in which they blocked the Siah-1 enzyme. As a result, HIPK2 was able to accumulate even in cells that were only slightly damaged, and apoptosis was induced. "Cancer medicine might be able to make use of our discovery," speculates Hofmann. "For example, we could use a Siah-1 blocker simultaneously with chemotherapy or radiotherapy to get the cells back into the apoptosis program."


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Contact: Dr. Stefanie Seltmann
s.seltmann@dkfz.de
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

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