Cancer discovery offers hope for new treatment

  • Posted

Posted 08/08/2012

Scientists based in Belfast have found that non-cancerous cells that surround cancers of the throat and cervix play an active part in the spread of cancer. There is a two-way communication between the cancerous and non-cancerous cells and a particular protein in the non-cancerous cells is able to either open or close the communication between the two. Current treatment for cancer targets the tumour itself, but the hope is that in the future, by targeting the ‘Rb’ protein, it will be possible to switch off the communication that welcomes the cancer cells to invade surrounding tissue. This would restrict or prevent the spread of the unhealthy cells. This development would represent a fundamental change in the treatment of cancer by concentrating on the healthy cells and using them to provide a barrier against the cancer spreading, rather than battling against the cancer that is already present.Although the current work has been on cancers of the throat and cervix, it is possible that these discoveries may prove to be relevant to other forms of cancer.Trefine Maynard, a clinical negligence solicitor at Ashtons Legal said: “Any new breakthrough in understanding cancer is hugely exciting. All too often we act for clients where a cancer diagnosis has been delayed as a result of failures in medical care. It is encouraging to hear of new findings that offer a greater understanding of the way cancer works and spreads. This development may offer more hope of successful treatment to people whose cancer has been left untreated for far too long.”


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