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Slow cancer by speeding it up

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Don’t try this at home—but one researcher is trying to knock out cancer by encouraging it to grow and spread.

Medicine is focused on inhibiting cancerous cells, but medical researcher Matheus dos Santos Dias at the Netherlands Cancer Institute believes a better approach is to overstimulate them and then exhaust them.

It’s a little like over-revving a car.  “If you crank up the RPM and then turn off the cooling, it’s bound to crash, and this is exactly what we are trying to do,” he said.

He’s looking for drugs that can overstimulate the cancer cells, but that’s not so easy when most are designed to inhibit some biological process.  He’s found two—one that acts on the protein PP2A, and another that inhibits WEE1, which influences cell size—and he’s tested them both on laboratory mice.  The combo seemed to slow the cancer’s growth and the side effects were manageable, he said.

That doesn’t mean the combination could be tolerated in people, and there’s still a way to go—but it could be a counterintuitive way to slow cancer by speeding it up.

What do you think? Start a conversation over on the... WDDTY Community

References
Cancer Discovery, 2024; doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-23-0216
Article Topics: Cancer
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