Scientists Are Close to Developing a Universal Cancer Drug
The 2009 Noble prize for Medicine was won by scientists for explaining the process of ageing and Cancer disease. Soon after the discovery, it became apparent that anti-ageing and anti-cancer drugs will be a reality soon. Researchers, at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, now report of coming one step closer to understanding the process of Cancer prevention. This article tries to gain further insight on their understandings.
Basics to Appreciate the Research: Human body is made up of cells. They are the building blocks of life. The cells function by following a set of chemical instructions called Genes. A single instruction is called a Chromosome. A fundamental property of cells is that they die and before dying they undergo the process called replication. In the process of replication, a dying cell passes on its set of instructions to the new forming cell. The tail of every chromosome is called the Telomeres. It is important that for the successful completion of the process of cell replication, the section telomeres of the dying cell pass on to the new cell completely. But this is not the case in reality. Every time in cell replication process, the Telomeres is not passed on completely and it gets shortened over the time. This disruption in the complete copy of Telomeres causes Aging.
Knowledge Gained From Latest Cancer Research:
- A naturally present chemical substance in the cells, called the enzyme Telomerase, can prevent shortening of Telomeres.
- In this way, it can prevent the process of ageing by making cells immortal.
- In case of cancer, the presence of this very enzyme Telomerase in the cell is undesirable as it makes the cancer cells immortal too.
- Proteins are chemical substance which provide nourishment to the whole cell.
- Scientists now discovered that Telomerase is controlled by a protein called TRF1.
- There is a possibility that TRF1 gets attached to another protein called Fbx4.
- Fbx4 reduces the ability of TRF1 to prevent the shortening of Telomeres.
- The researchers have also discovered a third protein called TIN2.
- The protein TIN2 has the ability to overpower Fbx4 and stop it from getting attached to TRF1.
- When TIN2 can get attached to TRF1, Fbx4 is blocked. This stabilizes TRF1 and controls the length of Telemore.
- Though the origin of cancer is not known yet, in 90 percent of cases, if the activity of Telomerase is curbed, the cancer cell dies.
- This is the reason why scientists are now in the look out for drugs which can work like TIN2.
- If a breakthrough is achieved in developing a drug which can inhibit Telomerase activity in the cells, then that drug will be a Universal Cancer Drug.