Researchers target the cell’s ‘biological clock’ in promising new therapy to kill cancer cells
Cell biologists have targeted telomeres with a small molecule called 6-thiodG that takes advantage of the cell’s ‘biological clock’ to kill cancer cells and shrink tumor growth.
Source: Sciencedaily.com – Top Health News
6-thiod G works by targeting an innovative mechanism which is taken as a regulator of the lifespan of cells, a kind of aging clock. This biological clock is referred to by DNA structures as telomeres which cover the ends of the cells for chromosomes, offering them protection from damage. These are shortened whenever the cells divide.
How the Process Works
After telomeres have become shortened to a significant length, the cell is not able to divide any longer and gets eliminated through a process called apoptosis. An RNA protein complex called telomerase gives protection to cancer cells preventing its death, and makes sure the telomeres do not become shortened with each division.
Telomerase has therefore undergone extensive research as a target for therapy to treat cancer. Drugs that are able to block its action have been created, although these drugs need to be administered for lengthy periods.
This enables them to activate the death of cells and make tumors smaller leading to a lot of toxicities. This result is partly because cells in each tumor consist of chromosomes with various lengths of telomere and each cell’s telomeres should be shortened seriously to trigger death.
6-thiodG is chosen as a substrate that is used by telomerase, and interrupts the normal methods cells sustain telomere length. As 6-thiodG is not normally utilized in telomeres, the availability of this substance works as an ‘alarm’ signal which is identified by the cell as harmful. The result of that is; the cell stops dividing and dies. Telomerase is a target for global oncology, although there are still some therapies which are directed by telomerase in clinical trials for humans, notes researchers.
Most importantly, unlike other compounds that inhibit telomerase, the researchers did not notice any critical side effects in the liver, blood and kidneys of the mice exposed to 6-thiodG.