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Kill tumor cells without damaging health cells

Kill tumor cells without damaging health cells
PROBLEM
Glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor, is aggressive and relapses frequently. Currently there is not an effective treatment and people have no choice but to suffer.
SOLUTION
The team introduced a molecule that can not only inhibit growth of cancer cells but also reprogram the cancer cells back to normal-like cells.
Varda's discovery has great potential to eliminate tumor cells while avoiding the negative side effects of conventional chemotherapy. This indeed leaves healthy cells alone.
CHALLENGES
Currently this discovery is still in the experimental stage. In addition, the team needs to prove that this approach will work extensively.
IMPACT
Malignant tumors have become one of the most serious illnesses with high-mortality rates nowadays. Although there are many treatments, they cause significant side effects - damaging healthy cells while inhibiting cancer cells within human body. Professor Varda Shoshan-Barmatz and her group from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has introduced a method which can solve this problem to some e1tent. The method is based on preventing the e1pression of Voltage-dependent anion-selective channel 1 (VDAC1), a protein that is highly overe1pressed in many tumors. VDAC1 serves as the watcher of the mitochondria which controls cell metabolism and is therefore significant for supplying the high energy demands of malignant cells. The group found an approach using the siRNA to silence VDAC1 expression, which indeed leads to inhibition of cancer cells but not healthy cells. They proved this both in vitro and in mouse models of glioblastoma, lung cancer and triple negative breast cancer.

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