10 June 2014

Why Cells Turn Cancerous

Aumenta dimensioni testoDiminuisci dimensioni testo

Switching off cancer may sound like science fiction today, but this is what researchers at the German Cancer Research Center DKFZ in Heidelberg are working on. 

Cancer: about one in three Europeans is confronted with this diagnosis during their lifetime.

Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center DKFZ in Heidelberg are investigating the development of cancerous cells to find out how their growth is controlled and what goes wrong in cancer cells. Usually a cell receives a chemical signal to divide, but this control is often not working in cancer cells.

Within the EU funded research project CancerPathways the researchers have already identified several signaling factors that could play an important role in the development of various cancers. The aim of the scientists was to identify new potential targets for cancer therapies. For this, the researchers use a mechanism that also occurs in nature called RNA interference.RNAi molecules ensure that a desired gene is no longer translated into the corresponding protein, and thus stop processes inside the cell, like its division. For each gene, the researchers in Heidelberg have designed and generated the according RNAi switch for each gene of the fruit fly Drosophila. 

Usually it takes ten to fifteen years before the results of such fundamental research can lead to new treatments, but the vision of scientists is already shaping up: in the future cancer-relevant pathways will be examined for each patient and thus adapt the treatment according to these individual signals. 

youris.com provides its content to all media free of charge. We would appreciate if you could acknowledge youris.com as the source of the content.