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Researchers Discover Novel Cancer Therapy Targets Through Screening

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Researchers Discover Novel Cancer Therapy Targets Through Screening

Researchers from the Cancer Research Institute from the United Kingdom reveal a new effective screening method that is able to identify genetic mutations in the cancerous cells found in one of the most common forms of lung cancer. Their discovery could lead to the development of new anti-cancer drugs. The study was recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research team from the Cancer Research Institute from the University of Manchester studied the cell lines of 6 different NSCLCs (non-small cell lung cancer) that were previously grown in laboratory conditions. Each of the studied cell lines is known to have at least 60 genetic mutations. In order to precisely detect which of the mutations were responsible for the onset of cancer, the research team turned off each mutation in turn. This allowed them to determine the exact genetic mutations that  cause the cells to proliferate.

According to their results, the research team reports finding 3 key genes involved in the production of proteins that cause the cells to proliferate out of control. More importantly, these proteins can be used as drug targets for specific anti-cancer drug therapies. In the UK alone, lung cancer has been shown to be the 2nd most common type of cancer, following breast cancer. Approximately 42,000 cases are diagnosed each year, accounting for 13% of diagnosed cancer types. Furthermore, lung cancer also has one of the lowest survival rates. Less than 10% of all lung cancer patients survive for more than 5 years after being diagnosed.

The leader of the study, Dr John Brognard affirms that his new study is able to provide a new approach towards cancer drugs that could be personalized for each individual, thus increasing their efficacy. The results of the study still leave the genetic mutations of almost 50% of NSCLCs undiscovered. Researchers say that lung cancer is one of the most difficult to study types of cancer, thus all the possible genetic markers are already targeted by current therapies. However, the new discovery of the research team allows for further development of drugs according to the genetic mutations that are most likely to cause the proliferation of the cancerous cells.

According to professor Richard Marais, the direct of the Cancer Research Institute, the improvement of lung cancer survivability is their priority, and this study is a major step forward towards the development of cancer therapy that is effective for each patient due to the possibility of personalizing the therapy for each patient. He concludes that if the genetic mutations that cause the cancerous proliferation will be discovered and understood, cancer therapies will be able to be very specific and effective. Professor Marais says that the direction to which this study leads is the direction he wants for the new Manchester Cancer Research Center.