are dangerous because of the havoc they can cause inside the body.
Chromosome abnormalities seen in leukemia, lymphoma and colorectal
cancers are believed to contribute to the malignancy of these tumors
by chromosomal errors made during cell division. These tumors have
high levels of aneuploid cells, cells with an incorrect number of
chromosomes. The more aneuploid a tumor is, the worse the prognosis.
often have more chromosomes than they need and it's thought that
this gives them a growth advantage as a tumor cell," said Kaplan,
who published a paper about kinetochores in the journal Nature Cell
Biology last spring.
No one knows
for sure why certain events in cell division go awry. But Kaplan
and other researchers believe that by studying kinetochores, scientists
can design drugs that target these structures. For example, by understanding
how kinetochores sense they are attached or unattached to microtubules,
scientists could develop drugs that fool tumor cells into thinking
they are unattached, causing the checkpoint mechanism to jump into
action and stop them from dividing.
you find a biochemical system that is controlling cell growth, it
seems that it would be a good target to stop tumor cells from growing,"
could be used in combination with other therapies already in use
that hone in on cell division problems. However, kinetochore drug
development is probably 10 to 20 years down the road, Kaplan said.
Researchers must first fine tune their knowledge of chromosomal
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