Updated on 5 January 2015
Millions of people across the globe die of cancer every year
Singapore: Scientists are now looking at taking the advantage of the cell's biological clock, to fight tumor cells. According to a research published in the journal Cancer Discovery, scientists explained that a small molecule 6-thio-2'-deoxyguanosine kills cancer cells and shrink tumor growth.
Explaining the findings, Dr Jerry W Shay, professor and vice chairman of Cell Biology at UT Southwestern said that through experiments, researchers observed a broad efficacy against a range of cancer cell lines with very low concentrations of 6-thiodG, as well as tumour burden shrinkage in mice.
The molecule acts by targeting a type of aging clock, defined by DNA structures known as telomers. These cap the ends of the cell's chromosomes to protect them from damage, and become shorter every time the cell divides.
Scientists further stated that as 6-thiodG is not normally used in telomeres, the presence of this molecule acted as an alarm that is recognized by the cell as a damage. The cell then stops dividing and dies. The team noted that though telomerase has been widely used as target for cancer therapy, unlike many other compounds, no serious side effects in the blood, liver and kidneys of the mice were reported.