Professor Jo Milner and Dr. Shafiq Ahmed, scientists at the University of York have identified and successfully silenced a gene, JNK2, that appears essential to cancer cell survival. By using a process called RNA interference, they were able to kill the cancer cells without affecting the healthy cells.
What is being suggested by this discovery is that cancer cells must have certain genes to survive, but healthy cells do not require those genes. If the genes are silenced, the cancer cells die but the healthy cells remain unaffected – all without the use of radiotherapy or chemotherapy. While testing still has a long way to go, the potential of this discovery is enormous.
Dr. Shafiq Ahmed said,
Our results indicate that one day it may be possible to treat cancer without the harmful side-effects so often associated with today’s treatments.
That is indeed something we all hope for. For more information on this research, see the news release here.