Cancer Discovery Would  By-Pass Chemo

Cancer discovery would by-pass chemo

Researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis have discovered a way in which certain types of cancer cells can be forced to self-destruct.

Researchers say the discovery might pave the way for the use of drugs designed to activate the self-destruction program called apoptosis and negate the need for chemotherapy, which has serious side effects that degrade quality of life.

The research is published in the June 20 issue of Molecular Cell.

The St. Jude team stimulated apoptosis by treating cancer cells with a drug called rapamycin, which blocks the action of a protein called mTOR. That protein stimulates a biochemical pathway that leads to increased production of proteins essential for cell proliferation.

Blocking mTOR with rapamycin leaves the cell unable to make critical proteins and leads to the cell's destruction.

Researchers say the finding has potentially wide application in about half of all types of cancer.

Thanks to UPI, 6/03

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