Some small RNA molecules can selectively kill cultured human cancer cells, leaving healthy cells untouched, according to a study published online yesterday (6th September) in PNAS -- a feat that has surpassed conventional cancer therapies that kill indiscriminately, causing an array of side effects in patients.
Prostate cancer, a possible
target for this therapy.

Image: Wikimedia commons,
user Nephron
"It's a novel approach that will bring about new and cool things in the field," said linkurl:Andrew Ellington,; a biotechnologist at the University of Texas at Austin, who was not involved in the research. And with 7.6 million cancer-related deaths worldwide in 2007, according to the American Cancer Society, there is an "urgent need for new approaches to cancer treatment," linkurl:Niles Pierce,; bioengineer at the California Institute of Technology and lead author of the study, said in an email to The Scientist. While traditional chemotherapies effectively annihilate cancer cells, they...
S. Venkataraman et al., "Selective cell death mediated by small conditional RNAs," PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1006377107

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