Researchers found a way to develop new cancer treatments. The so called "collateral lethality" might be the answer to several types of cancer such as pancreatic, colon and stomach cancer. Collateral lethality is a therapeutic strategy uses passenger deleted genes as points of selective vulnerability.
Pancreatic, stomach and colon cancer are among the most common types of cancer. Colon cancer specifically is the third most common type of cancer which accounts to about 10 percent of cancer patients worldwide. Meanwhile, stomach cancer is the third most deadly type of cancer which makes up 7 percent of cancer cases and 9 percent of cancer deaths.
Typically, cancer cells deletes genes that suppress tumor formation. However, these deletions may also extend to neighboring genes with no direct role in the tumor progression in a process called collateral lethality. In a study published in Nature, on Wednesday, Jan. 18, scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer discovered that this process can be used in novel therapy approaches for cancer.
"In an effort to expand therapeutic strategies beyond oncogenic targets to those not directly linked to cancer development, we have identified collateral lethal vulnerability in pancreatic cancers that can be targeted pharmacologically in certain patient populations," Prasenjit Dey, Ph.D., co-author of the study said, cited Science Daily. He added that genome data of several types of cancers reveal that this process might aid a new cancer treatment regime.
Doing a trial on mice, the researchers found out that when a common tumor suppressor in pancreatic cancer called SMAD4 is deleted during early cancer development, a nearby gene called malic enzyme 2 (ME2) is also eradicated. When the ME3 (sister gene to ME2) levels are depleted, it will lead to the regulation of branched chain amino acid (BCAA), which is important in cancer's ability to survive. This might be the key in preventing the growth of cancer tumors. The researchers added that more research is needed for the said cancer treatment.