Finding A Genetic Cure For Cancer

September 27, 2011

The biggest problem with finding a cure for cancer is that cancer isn’t one thing, or one disease. There are many cancer types, with many causes (from inflammation, to genetics, to radiation). Because of all these cancer types, there probably won’t be just one cure for cancer, there will probably be many.

But finding one cure for cancer is the dream, and there are many lines of research seeking to do just that.

For example, several scientists are working on finding a genetic cure for cancer, programming cells to self destruct when they become cancer cells. Working on fighting cancer from within cancer cells currently seems to be the best way to find a (near) universal cure.

Zhen Xie, of Harvard and MIT, developed a circuit (comparable to computer circuits) that would trigger cell death once 5 separate markers (triggers) were met. In a study led by Yaakov Benenson, the triggers seemed to work, revealing that treating cells like circuits might be a way to target cancer cells.

Of course, they were focusing on one strain of cancer, and the results weren’t perfect. There were several false positives, and missed cancer cells. And if the tests ever make it to human trials, potential side-effects would have to be addressed (delivery into cells, etc.).

But it’s promising. Cancer research is coming along, and in a few decades we may have a reasonable array of treatment options.

What do you think? Share in the comments.

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