Scientists have identified the Achilles’ Heel of cancerous tumors, forcing the disease-spreading cells to over-stress and self-destruct.
Experiments showed blocking a specific protein that fuels tumors kills them off.
The technique worked on a range of human forms of the disease and mice with bowel and blood cancer.
What’s more there are already drugs that block the chemical called ATF4 – offering hope of the fast-tracking of a revolutionary therapy.
Co-senior author Professor Constantinos Koumenis said: ‘What we’ve learned is we need to go further downstream to block tumor growth in a way that cancer cells can’t easily escape, and our study identifies the target to do just that.’
His team said it ‘may be its Achilles’ Heel’.
Every day millions of our cells ‘kill’ themselves, helping protect us from potentially harmful ones.
Cancer cells, on the other hand, ignore our immune system’s cell-death signals. Finding a way to stop this is the ‘Holy Grail’ of cancer research.
Dr Koumenis did this by homing in on ATF4 in human bowel, breast and lymphoma cells grown in the lab – and rodents genetically engineered to develop lymphoma.
Image Credit: Shutterstock