Treating premalignant colorectal cells with a protein cocktail that 'persuades' them to commit cell suicide may prove a useful method of cancer chemoprevention, a Nature paper suggests.
The treatment, devised by Xiangwei Wu and colleagues, targets a molecular pathway altered early in tumorigenesis. Tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and all-trans-retinyl acetate (RAc) treatment caused premalignant intestinal polyp cells to commit suicide in a mouse model and a human biopsy study.
Critically, normal cells appear unaffected by the treatment, suggesting that the therapy could be beneficial in preventing human colon cancer. Also, this type of cell death is triggered by short-term, intermittent treatment cycles, so the authors hope that the potential side effects and costs associated with long-term treatment could be minimized and controlled.
Xiangwei Wu (MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
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