- I think that this is really cool. A researcher has developed a drug that may allow radiation therapy to kill cancer cells without harming the healthy cells. According to MedHeadlines,
The trick is apoptosis, or cellular suicide. When healthy cells are exposed to radiation, even at doses that produce damage than can be repaired, they instead do what seems to be suicide. The cells in the bone marrow and gastrointestinal (GI) tract are particularly vulnerable.
Cancer cells, however, use various means of blocking apoptosis, enabling cancerous tumors to grow. One way they block cellular suicide is by activating a signaling pathway known as NFKB, or nuclear factor-KappaB.
By imitating this tumor trick, Andrei Gudkov and his team of colleagues affiliated with the Roswell Park Cancer Institute ,were able to block apoptosis in healthy tissue by introducing flagellin, a protein made from bacteria in the GI tract, to activate the NFKB pathway.
They then administered their flagellin-based experimental drug on rhesus monkeys and mice before exposing the animals to full-body, lethal doses of radiation, similar to what might be received during a widespread nuclear emergency. The drug was administered 15 minutes to one hour before radiation exposure.
The remarkable result of this experimental trickery was protection of the animals’ bone marrow and GI tracts from destruction typically caused by radiation, and with no no observable side effects. What is even more exciting is that the cancerous tumors were killed, as desired, by the radiation treatment.
I do believe that medical breakthroughs like this will be keep on coming due to the groundwork laid be basic research, such as the Human Genome Project.
- Speaking of cool, I visited Nationals Park this week. Great ballpark, great food, very easy to reach by Metro (similar to the Verizon Center). Hopefully, our team will achieve greatness in time.