Cancer is still almost a mystery. The character of cancer is different in different parts of the body. As a result, its treatment is also different. Some of the same types of cancer sufferers are cured by chemotherapy, while others do not. Much of it was previously unknown because it was difficult to explain. With the modernity of medical science, complications are gradually decreasing. A ‘personalized’ treatment plan is developed for a particular patient.
This is exactly how Arindam Basu, a scientist at Harvard Medical School’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and his team, found an effective treatment forovarian cancer. Their research paper was published in the journal ‘CancerResearch’.
Report of the scientists
Scientists say, in many cases, the cause of a person’s cancer is hidden in her body. For example, if a person smokes all her life, she does not get cancer. But the one who did not even touch a cigarette became a victim of cancer. The seeds of this mystery are largely sown in human genes. According to Arindam Basu, the risk of developing five types of cancer is high only due to genetic abnormalities in the human body’s own ‘DNA damage and repair system’.
These are the prostate, pancreas, breast, ovary, and brain cancer. For example, Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie had a mutation in the Braca gene. Fearing breast cancer, she underwent a mastectomy.
Conventional cancer treatments (radiation and chemotherapy) kill cancer cells by damaging the patient’s DNA. Six types of DNA repair systems are active in a healthy human body. The thing is, DNA is often damaged in the human body for various reasons. The human body’s DNA repair system repairs them on its own. But in many cases, cancer cells have an inactive DNA repair mechanism due to a specific genetic mutation.
Details about the treatment
It is important to identify the mutated gene or its pathway. In these cases, when one of the six DNA repair mechanisms is disabled, the cell becomes more dependent on another DNA repair pathway. If this over-active pathway can also be disabled somehow, the cancer cells will no longer survive. This is called a ‘Synthetic Lethal Combination’.
In this treatment, finding the mutated gene in the patient’s body (the inactive DNA repair pathway) and the second additional active gene to take over its work is necessary. Usually, the drugs used in ‘synthetic lethal combination’ are called scientific term small molecule inhibitors. As medical science advances, the use of such inhibitors is increasing. Currently, this type of inhibitor is becoming one of the chemotherapeutic drugs in cancer treatment.
Arindam, formerly of the Narendrapur Ramakrishna Mission, said they used two DNA repair inhibitors in their research on ovarian cancer. Targets two DNA repair pathways. They are, NHEJ (Non-homologous end-joining) and MMEJ (Microhomology mediated end-joining). Scientists have discovered a new synthetic lethal combination that destroys cancer cells with the help of inhibitors. With this treatment, they were able to kill TP53 mutated cancer cells.