new treatments are desperately needed. Conventional chemotherapy
works by targeting the DNA of rapidly dividing cells. These drugs
can be very effective, but side effects are common and they are
less effective in metastatic cancer.
new class of drugs, cell cycle modulators, has shown promise in
targeting cancer cells while leaving their healthy neighbors alone.
The drugs interrupt the signals that make cancer cells proliferate,
keeping them in a kind of holding pattern.
dependent kinase (cdk) inhibitors, one type of cell cycle modulator,
contain enzymes that target altered genes and regulate their dysfunction.
Another type, antimi- crotubial agents, halt cells at just the moment
in mitosis when they are about to split. They do this by preventing
the development of microtubials, protein filaments that help cells
maintain their shape before nuclear division.
a "stop!" signal to cells on a rampage to grow, grow,
grow doesn't just slow them down - it kills them, according to Gumerlock.
adults, most cells don't divide rapidly, and cell cycle modulators
don't do much to them," Gumerlock explains. "The cells
just sort of sit there. But when you give those drugs to cancer
cells, the conflicting signals causes them to die."
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