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Gene enchances radiation therapy - A novel approach to fight cancer

In the era of fighting battle against cancer, researchers of Virginia have come out with a novel approach to execute the destiny. Radiation therapy is used to treat many types of cancer. An experimental form of gene therapy makes cancer cells more susceptible to radiation therapy.

Although radiation kills cancer cells, it has unwanted side effects that could counter its positive effects. Dr. Rupert K. Schmidt-Ullrich, of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and colleagues found that radiation activates the EGFR, or epidermal growth factor receptor, which is a part of a repair mechanism that can undo some of the destruction that radiation causes in cancer cells.//

The researchers in their experiment injected the mice with mutant form of EGFR, called EGFR-CD533 that prevents the repair mechanism in cancer cells from being activated by radiation and then they irradiated them. They found that the mice that had received the gene therapy had a nearly threefold decrease in activation of the EGFR repair system. They also found that tumor cells in the mice treated with the mutant gene were 46% less likely to survive than those in untreated mice.

The study shows that disrupting the EGFR system in cancer cells "can enhance the effectiveness of radiotherapy, a major treatment form for many cancers," Schmidt-Ullrich said.

Drs. Stephen P. Ethier and Theodore S. Lawrence, of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor stated that such mutated gene therapy causing radiation boosting effects targeted against growth factor receptors offers an exciting potential advance in cancer treatment. This type of approach "offers the potential for a dramatic improvement in the outcome of treatment that, while not yet in our hands, is within our reach," they lamented. Hope this sooner gets into the application to humans to put an end to the cancer morbidiity and mortality.

Let us hope that future collaborations bet ween the Yale and University of Pennsylvania research teams will result in further understanding the disease.

"This is the future of how we will come to understand the pathology of diabetes."


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