Future Anti-Cancer Drugs Can Cause Apoptosis in Cancer Cells

Cancer cells grow together through different mechanisms. Anti-cancer drugs try to inhibit the growth of cancer cells by targeting these mechanisms. But, most of the time, it is hard to address the disease completely. The drugs end up being partially effective in treating the disease. Techniques which involve complete destruction of cancer cells like Chemotherapy and Laser treatment are effective. But there are unavoidable side effects associated with these techniques.

Recently researchers at Lund University have discovered a mechanism by which cancer cells end up killing themselves. Results of this study are published in the scientific journal Cancer Research. This article tries to gain further insight on this future cancer treatment technique.

What the Researchers Already Knew ?

The researchers knew that a carbohydrate called Xylose along with Naphthalene has the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells. This drug however is not found to affect the normal cells in any ways. Experiments carried out on animals have shown that this drug is effective up to 97 percent in its task.

Knowledge Gained from Research:

  • When cells are grown along with Xylose and Nephthalene, a substance called Glycosaminoglycans (GAG) is produced.
  • Different types of GAG are produced by different types of cells in our body and released out side the cell.
  • The important finding was that the GAG produced by normal healthy cells are inactive, whereas the GAG produced by cancer cells are very active.
  • The cancer cell GAG are absorbed again by both cancerous and normal cells.
  • On absorption, the GAG proves to be toxin for cancer cells in particular.
  • These substances change the genetic instructions of cancer cells in such a way their growth is arrested and they are compelled to commit suicide, technically called Apoptosis.
  • When the presence of this substance is high around the tumour, the cancer cells meet their natural death.
  • Once the tumour dies, the production of GAG is also stopped.
  • The drug is found to be effective in almost all the types of cancer tumours considered until now in the study.
  • Though it may take many more years to make this drug available in the market, the researchers believe that the present finding is an important step forward in the discovery of a potent anti-cancer drug in future.

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