LA JOLLA, CA – July 25, 2018 – Scientists at Scripps Research have uncovered a new strategy to kill tumors, including some triple-negative breast cancers, without harming healthy cells, a discovery that could lead to more ways to treat tumors while reducing side effects.
The study, published recently in Nature Communications, shows that a molecule in cells, called Rad52, repairs special kinds of damaged DNA that accumulate in some cancers. A future therapeutic could inhibit Rad52, robbing cancer cells of this repair mechanism.
“This could give us a way to kill tumors without harming normal cells,” says Xiaohua Wu, PhD, professor at Scripps Research and senior author of the study. “That’s the future. That’s the goal for targeted cancer treatments–to make these treatments a part of precision medicine.”
Wu and her colleagues investigate how seemingly healthy cells become cancerous, with an eye toward leveraging differences between cancers and healthy cells to develop new therapeutic approaches. The culprits may be different from patient to patient, so the key to killing specific cancer types is to study the basic roles of proteins–and how things go awry in different cancers.
“The most important thing is to understand the defects in all these
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