Monday February 24, 2020

Researchers Find Way to Make Cancer Cells Self-destruct

It also shows that ATF4 turns on the genes MYC needs for growth and also controls the rate at which cells make specific proteins called 4E-BP

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Cancer, Patients, Invasive
Traditional treatments often include chemotherapy or radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Pixabay

In a new hope for cancer patients, researchers have found a way to cause some cancer cells to self-destruct.

The research team has identified a new pathway that works as a partner to a gene called MYC which controls normal cell growth, but when it is mutated or amplified in cancer, it sets off a chain reaction that helps tumours grow uncontrollably.

The pathway involves a protein called ATF4, and when it’s blocked, it can cause cancer cells to produce too much protein and die.

Published in the journal Nature Cell Biology, the study done on mice points the way towards a new therapeutic approach as inhibitors that can block synthesis of ATF4 already exist.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

“What we’ve learned is that we need to go further downstream to block tumour growth in a way that cancer cells can’t easily escape, and our study identifies the target to do just that,” said Constantinos Koumenis, Professor at the University of California.

According to researchers, this finding shows the alternative approach is to target ATF4 itself, since it’s the point where both signal pathways converge, meaning there’s less redundancy built in to allow cancer to survive.

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It also shows that ATF4 turns on the genes MYC needs for growth and also controls the rate at which cells make specific proteins called 4E-BP.

This study also found that when tumours in humans are driven by MYC, ATF4 and its protein partner 4E-BP are also overly expressed, which is further evidence that these findings may point to an approach that could work for humans. (IANS)

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80% of Children Diagnosed With Cancer Do Not Survive Beyond Teenage: Study

Fighting a deadly disease like cancer at a tender age makes these young one real heroes; and such survivors teach this world the true meaning of challenging the adversary and emerging victorious

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Cancer
The World Health Organization's Global Childhood Cancer Initiative has set a global target to achieve 60 per cent survival rate among the children suffering from cancers by 2030. Pixabay

 It is estimated that nearly 300,000 children up to the age of 19 years are diagnosed with cancers worldwide; and only 20 per cent of them survive to live beyond their teenage.

The situation is equally grim among the low-income sections in India, and the medical fraternity is trying to help such children live long and lead a healthy life, said doctors at Hyderabad-based Continental Hospitals on the occasion of ‘International Childhood Cancer Day’ on Saturday.

The World Health Organization’s Global Childhood Cancer Initiative has set a global target to achieve 60 per cent survival rate among the children suffering from cancers by 2030.

The Continental Hospitals said that it is committed to play a constructive role in reaching the benchmark set by the WHO.

The hospital celebrated the young heroes who not just survived childhood cancers but are leading a healthy and successful lives. Their lives are filled with optimism and will surely encourage others with similar ailments to fight until they defeat the cancer in their body.

The doctors stressed the need to ensure that the hope is not lost in cases of childhood cancers. Such children need right advice from doctors and family around to keep the spirits high and help them fight the disease.

“Fighting a deadly disease like cancer at a tender age makes these young one real heroes; and such survivors teach this world the true meaning of challenging the adversary and emerging victorious. At Continental Hospitals, we have witnessed many young heroes who fought the battle and recovered fully to lead the future by setting an example for others,” said Vinodh Maddireddy, Consultant and Radiation Oncologist, Continental Hospitals.

Cancer
It is estimated that nearly 300,000 children up to the age of 19 years are diagnosed with cancers worldwide; and only 20 per cent of them survive to live beyond their teenage. Pixabay

Five years ago, a young boy Prakash (name changed) was diagnosed with pineoblastoma (advanced brain tumor/cancer), a dreaded tumor with a low rate of patient survival. The patient required entire brain and spinal cord radiation and six months of toxic chemotherapy with three very strong drugs. Each passing day and the challenges faced by this brave young man were difficult to see for anyone around him. The most sophisticated hybrid-radiotherapy at Continental Hospitals, helped the patient cope with side-effects; and today after five long years, the young man, now 24-year-old has completely defeated cancer in his body and is leading a happy and successful life.

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In another case, a 12-year-old kid Arshad Rahman was diagnosed with high grade glioma of thalamus (a form of brain tumor) and his condition was quite peculiar because the patient was not eligible for a biopsy. Instead, the team at Continental Hospitals took radiotherapy approach in addition to oral chemotherapy. Medical team left no stone unturned to ensure the spirits of the child are kept high, and this resulted in successful treatment of the dreaded disease. Today, the child leads a normal life and attends a normal school and is active like any other kid in his class.  (IANS)