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Science Forum

Science Forum

  1. 09 Feb '14 21:16 / 3 edits
    this sound like an extremely promising strategy for selectively killing caner in patients without harming normal cells thus avoiding the normal horrible side effects from chemotherapy that often mean the chemotherapy has to be stopped leading to the death of the patient:

    http://phys.org/news/2014-02-scientists-advanced-approach-drug-candidates.html

    The strategy involves designing a drag that targets a particular microRNA (microRNA's are relatively short strands of RNA molecules that regulate DNA genes ) that cancer cells have and need but normal cells neither have nor need.
    The drag is designed to inhibit its target microRNA and this causes the cancer cell to commit suicide!

    I think this is the most promising strategy I have heard of to date because I think this could lead to the real breakthrough in cancer treatment that cures most or perhaps even all cancers that currently are incurable and without side effect.
  2. 10 Feb '14 00:39
    Thalidomide was thought to be without side effects until they started prescribing it.

    This sounds like very interesting research... but there is an awful lot of testing and
    research needed between where they are and an actual drug on the market.
    And no guarantee that it will actually pan out.

    I'll get excited when they have promising results from stage 3 drug trials.
  3. 10 Feb '14 08:42 / 4 edits
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    Thalidomide was thought to be without side effects until they started prescribing it.

    This sounds like very interesting research... but there is an awful lot of testing and
    research needed between where they are and an actual drug on the market.
    And no guarantee that it will actually pan out.

    I'll get excited when they have promising results from stage 3 drug trials.
    I understand your caution. We have many times heard of very promising sounding cancer research into a new cancer drugs for many years only for the drug to become proven to be no where near as good as we hoped. But that was always because the new drug proved not to be as selective against cancer as we hoped. Often the reason for this is because the drag's anti-cancer effect was either discovered by accident or by trial and error and, in either case, we didn't have a clear understanding of how it worked which means we only assumed good selectivity against cancer by the crude initial empirical data alone when we had never had any special reason to believe it was totally selective thus giving no side effects. You just mentioned Thalidomide but that is a good example of that:

    http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/guidetocancerdrugs/thalidomide
    "...The exact way this drug works against cancer cells is not clear. ..."

    -therefore we never did have a good reason to believe that it is so selective that it had a good chance to give no side effects.

    But what is being proposed in the OP is fundamentally different because what they are proposing is making designer drags which are so designed that we DO know exactly how they work and, more critically, because they are cleverly designed so to supposed to have total complete selectivity, we HAVE a good reason to believe they have a good chance of being totally selective and with no side effects.

    So, although I would still be cautiously optimistic, I still believe this is very promising line of research indeed (and the most promising one to date ) that could lead to fantastically effective drugs against cancer and without the nasty side effects.
  4. 10 Feb '14 17:29
    http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-02-enzyme-aids-mutant-fuel-blood.html
  5. 11 Feb '14 12:32 / 6 edits
    Here is some promising research into using siRNA gene therapy to selectively silence genes in cancer cells (to kill them ) or to treat other diseases and with no side effects:

    http://phys.org/news/2014-02-rna-nature-nanoparticles-best-ever-gene.html

    With so much promising cancer research recently like the above one and the OP one, I think that surely one of these approaches would bound to work and result in fantastic cures for cancer without side effects within just the next ~10 years!?
    I wouldn't like to bet on which one would pan out though.
    Both this siRNA gene therapy approach and the drug targeting microRNA approach (from the OP ) seem to me to be about equally promising and both look very promising.

    This wasn't mentioned in the above link but it has occurred to me that this siRNA gene therapy approach would work well against viruses such as flue and HIV if it is made to selectively silence viral genes that have inserted themselves in the cell nucleus -just a thought.