More on Aging Cancers To Death

Via EurekAlert!, another look at the potential to use cellular senescence as a weapon against cancer: "Historically, most research involving genetic methods of battling cancer cells has focused on reactivating genes called tumor-suppressor genes, which are generally overcome by a proliferating cancer. No one had explored the idea that senescence might play a key role in diminishing tumors. ... senescence [acts] like a fail-safe mechanism to stop cancer. When a cell detects a deleterious mutation, it launches the senescence process, resulting in the permanent loss of the cell's ability to proliferate, thus halting any cancer. In order to become tumor cells, those cells have to overcome senescence ... the sudden diminishment they had observed in the tumors might be due to the reactivation of some latent remnant of the trigger for senescence. Through a series of experiments looking at enzymes associated with the senescence process, as well as some molecular markers, Wu confirmed her suspicion. And not only was senescence occurring in cells that had been thought to be incapable of it, the process was reactivated in all the different tumors they studied." The researchers have found a trigger mechanism to reenable cellular senescence in cancer in mice, but it remains to be seen how effective this strategy can be in humans.

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2007-07/sumc-fog072507.php

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