Tel Aviv University researchers have invented a technique to destroy malignant cells in the breast while leaving healthy ones untouched. If the results produced in lab tests on mice can be applied to human patients, the result could be a revolution in cancer care, though human clinical tests are years away, at best.
The killing of cancerous cells in the lab was accomplished by using a chemical generally used to treat strokes. The work by Prof. Malka Cohen-Armon of TAU's Sackler Medical School was just published in the open online journal, BioMed Central.
The international research team she headed found that potent phenanthridine derived polyADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors that were originally designed to protect cells from cell death under stress conditions such as stroke or inflammation efficiently eradicate MCF-7 and MDA231 breast cancer cells without impairing normal cells.
Cohen-Armon said they made the discovery "by chance," but that the findings provide "a new therapeutic approach for a selective eradication of abundant human cancers."