gene that affects the malignancy of a particular cell. But if cancer cells are mutator cells, a single tumor may have cells with many different types of oncogenes and drug-resistant genes. That chemotherapy drug may kill off some of the cancerous cells, but millions of other cells in the tumor will live on. To be effective, a chemotherapy treatment may have to target more than one oncogene so-called combination chemotherapy.
Not all of the news is bad, though. Loeb believes this research may eventually help physicians determine the stage and malignancy of a tumor by testing the number of its mutations. The more mutations, the further along the tumor may be in its development to malignancy or metastasis.
Loebs work may also lead to a discovery of why cancer cells are becoming mutator cells. If scientists understand what happens in a cancer cell that makes it become a mutator, they might be able to prevent that from happening in other cells, or slow down the mutation rate.
"The idea is that if you might normally get exposed to something in the environment at 20 years old that would give you cancer by age 55, then if we cut the mutation rate in half, you might not get cancer until age 90, and you may even die of something else before that," Loeb explained.
Contact: Justin Reedy
University of Washington 18-Feb-2007Page: 1 2 Related biology news :1
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