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Cancer

Microbeams Have Big Impact on Cancer

20 years, 4 months ago

8450  0
Posted on Dec 13, 2003, 4 a.m. By Bill Freeman

British researchers testing the effect of microbeams on cancer cells say that targeting the beams on just a few cancerous cells can have a devastating impact upon the disease. Dr Kevin Prise and colleagues at the British charity Cancer Research UK discovered that cancer cells hit by microbeams die and send out signals to other cancer cells telling them to commit cellular suicide, or apoptosis.

British researchers testing the effect of microbeams on cancer cells say that targeting the beams on just a few cancerous cells can have a devastating impact upon the disease. Dr Kevin Prise and colleagues at the British charity Cancer Research UK discovered that cancer cells hit by microbeams die and send out signals to other cancer cells telling them to commit cellular suicide, or apoptosis. This so-called "bystander effect" means that it should be possible to target just a few cancer cells with a low dose of microbeams and then let the cells' natural suicide-signaling mechanism do the rest. Unfortunately, the bystander effect could cause problems as it means that even very low doses of radiation could be damaging more healthy tissue than was previously thought. However, Prise suspects that the mechanisms involved in the bystander effect might be different in healthy and cancerous tissues, thus meaning that it might be possible to develop drugs that protect normal healthy tissues from radiotherapy while also making cancer cells more vulnerable.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Reported by www.cancerresearchuk.org on the 1st December 2003.

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