Oncology & Cancer

Halting cancer by halting DNA repair

PARP inhibitors are rapidly transforming the treatment of ovarian, breast, prostate and other types of cancer. To develop these drugs, researchers supported by Cancer Research UK had to decipher how blocking DNA repair could ...

Oncology & Cancer

Breast cancer drug set to transform prostate cancer treatment

A drug used to treat breast and ovarian cancer can extend the lives of some men with prostate cancer and should become a new standard treatment for the disease, concludes a major trial which is set to change clinical practice.

Medical research

Building bridges: PARP enzymes bring broken DNA together

Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have identified the structure of double-strand DNA break repair by PARP enzymes. The findings show that PARP2 can bridge the gap, bringing two broken DNA ends together.

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DNA repair

DNA repair refers to a collection of processes by which a cell identifies and corrects damage to the DNA molecules that encode its genome. In human cells, both normal metabolic activities and environmental factors such as UV light and Radiation can cause DNA damage, resulting in as many as 1 million individual molecular lesions per cell per day. Many of these lesions cause structural damage to the DNA molecule and can alter or eliminate the cell's ability to transcribe the gene that the affected DNA encodes. Other lesions induce potentially harmful mutations in the cell's genome, which affect the survival of its daughter cells after it undergoes mitosis. Consequently, the DNA repair process is constantly active as it responds to damage in the DNA structure.

The rate of DNA repair is dependent on many factors, including the cell type, the age of the cell, and the extracellular environment. A cell that has accumulated a large amount of DNA damage, or one that no longer effectively repairs damage incurred to its DNA, can enter one of three possible states:

The DNA repair ability of a cell is vital to the integrity of its genome and thus to its normal functioning and that of the organism. Many genes that were initially shown to influence lifespan have turned out to be involved in DNA damage repair and protection. Failure to correct molecular lesions in cells that form gametes can introduce mutations into the genomes of the offspring and thus influence the rate of evolution.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA