In a revolutionary way to treat cancer, British scientists have found two drugs in combination can trigger the self-destruct or “Suicide” process in lung cancer cells, paving the way for a new way to treat cancer.
The combination of drugs — TRAIL and a CDK9 inhibitor, when used together forced the cancer cells to self-destruct, the findings showed. When healthy cells are no longer useful, they initiate a chain of events culminating in self destruction.
But cancer cells swerve away from this suicide path and become immortal. This means that cells grow out of control and grow into tumours.
Lead researcher Henning Walczak from the UCL Cancer Institute, University College in London said: “Igniting the fuse that causes lung cancer cells to self-destruct could pave the way to a completely new treatment approach — and leave healthy cells unharmed.”
The researchers have successfully fixed this fault in lung cancer cells by re-programming the cells to self-destruct and the experiment in mice proved positive.
Walczak added: “The next step of our work will see how this approach works in other cancer types, and we hope it could ultimately lead to testing this technique in trials to see if it can help patients.”
The findings will be presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in November in Liverpool.