Anne Li March 18th, 2017
When cancer cells divide they often make mistakes which can alter their DNA. While this can give cancer cells an upper hand, it can also be their downfall. Some DNA mistakes change molecules inside the cells in such a way that they offer an advantage for the tumour cells over healthy cells, allowing them to grow uncontrollably. But other mistakes are just too damaging for the cells to handle, causing them to die. It’s like a set of scales that the cells must balance to keep growing. To help them do this, cancer cells can also use DNA repair mechanisms to fix potentially fatal faults that develop over time. But even though these DNA repair kits can keep the scales balanced, cancer cells are more reliant on these repair molecules to survive than healthy cells. This makes certain cancer cells particularly vulnerable to drugs that switch off DNA repair molecules and which can upset the cancer cell’s balance. This strategy has recently seen several promising drugs, collectively called PARP inhibitors, now being used to treat some women with ovarian cancer. But they don’t work for everyone.
See original article at: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2017/03/16/parg-inhibitors-tipping-the-scales-with-a-new-experimental-drug/