Cancer-Resistant Mouse

There's some exciting cancer related news coming from University of Kentucky. Yesterday they published a press release with the following lead paragraphs:

A mouse resistant to cancer, even highly-aggressive types, has been created by researchers at the University of Kentucky. The breakthrough stems from a discovery by UK College of Medicine professor of radiation medicine Vivek Rangnekar and a team of researchers who found a tumor-suppressor gene called "Par-4" in the prostate.

The researchers discovered that the Par-4 gene kills cancer cells, but not normal cells. There are very few molecules that specifically fight against cancer cells, giving it a potentially therapeutic application.


That's pretty exciting news. We currently fight cancer by applying chemicals or radiation that kill fast growing cells. While this approach does target the rapidly dividing cancer cells, there's also a lot of normal cells that are also killed as collateral damage. Using gene therapy would prevent the loss of the normal cells. The press release goes on to say:

The implications for humans could be that through bone marrow transplantation, the Par-4 molecule could potentially be used to fight cancer cells in patients without the toxic and damaging side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.


While bone marrow transplantation isn't the most pleasant of procedures, for many people it would be preferable to extensive radiation and chemotherapy. Of course to get the bone marrow transplant you typically need to be exposed to radiation to kill off the normal existing bone marrow--and it'll be quite a while before this therapy is available clinically. It's just used in mice right now. Yet despite all that, I find it very encouraging that developments like Par-4 are entering the pipeline.

Comments

Ivy said…
It is very encouraging. My nephew just turned 4 at the end of october. he has cancer and is going through chemo right now.. its been a horrible process..
GA Girl said…
Yes, it's very encouraging - hope it will translate to humans. I know a woman who underwent bone marrow transplant for lymphoma - it was unpleasant for her, but she's still alive and vital several years later.
SassyAssy said…
That is awesome news!
Blonde Goddess said…
I have lost several loved ones to cancer and this is wonderful news.
Nina said…
My mom had a bone marrow transplant - didn't work. My dad didn't stay in remission long enough to be a candidate for one. Any progress is, for me, pretty thrilling.
Deana said…
This is very encouraging. What a wonderful thing this would be....
Blond Girl said…
Oh my goodness! That is incredible. If I had cancer, I would do the bone marrow transplant in a heartbeat, believe me. Being a diabetic who is looking to the day when we can have beta-cell transplants for the pancreas, this is certainly approachable.

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