Video: Why cells turn cancerous

June 11, 2014
Why cells turn cancerous

Cancer - about one in three Europeans is confronted with this diagnosis during their lifetime. Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center DKFZ in Heidelberg are investigating the development of cancerous cells to find out how their growth is controlled and what goes wrong in a cancer cell. Usually a cell receives a chemical signal to divide, but this control is not working in cancer cells.

Within the EU funded  CancerPathways the researchers have already identified several signaling factors that could play an important role in the development of various cancers. They aim of the scientists is to intervene in the signaling pathways and revert malfunctions of these cells whose growth has gone out of control. For this, the researchers use a mechanism that also occurs in nature called RNAi. These molecules ensure that a desired gene is no longer translated into the corresponding protein – and thus stops a chemical process inside the cell like its division. For each gene, the researchers in Heidelberg now want to design and generate the according RNAi switch.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
Switching off cancer may sounds like science fiction today, but this is what researchers at the German Cancer Research Center DKFZ in Heidelberg are working on.

Usually it takes ten to fifteen years before the results of such fundamental research can lead to new treatments, but the vision of scientists is already shaping up: in the future cancer-relevant pathways will be examined for each patient and thus adapt the treatment according to these individual signals. 

Related Stories

Cancer's potential on-off switch

May 15, 2014

A team of Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) researchers have proposed that an "on and off" epigenetic switch could be a common mechanism behind the development of different types of cancer. Epigenetics is the phenomena ...

Advancing the search for new cancer drugs

June 11, 2014

Targeted therapies have revolutionised the treatment of cancer since they were first introduced. Amongst the first medications approved in Europe, was the breast cancer drug Herceptin, which was approved in 2000. Then, the ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals new insight into DNA repair

August 3, 2015

DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are the worst possible form of genetic malfunction that can cause cancer and resistance to therapy. New information published this week reveals more about why this occurs and how these breaks ...

Strange circular DNA may offer new way to detect cancers

July 30, 2015

Strange rings of DNA that exist outside chromosomes are distinct to the cell types that mistakenly produced them, researchers have discovered. The finding raises the tantalizing possibility that the rings could be used as ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.