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Mutant form of gene stops cancer cells dead

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Chemotherapy and radiation can take a serious toll on the bodies of cancer sufferers, but scientists at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have just discovered a far less lethal treatment involving the mutant form of a gene that when “artificially activated,” kills cancer cells.

While studying the basic mechanisms for genome integrity, Dr. Zhang’s team unexpectedly discovered an active mutant form of human Chk1, which is also a non-natural form of this gene. This mutation changed the protein conformation of Chk1 from the inactive form into an active form. Remarkably, the research team discovered that when expressed in cancer cells, this active mutant form of Chk1 permanently stopped cancer cell proliferation and caused cell death in petri dishes even without the addition of any chemotherapeutic drugs.

The next step is to investigate how to deliver the mutant cells to cancer cells, but could this be the beginning of the end of cancer?

Full story at Newswise.

Cancer research.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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