The new findings explain partially why cancer cells, unlike normal cells, fail to die as a result of DNA damaging insults, and how this mechanism causes new genetic mutations in cancer cells. This new information directly benefits cancer research. Now that scientists understand the repair mechanism, they are better equipped to develop drug therapies that specifically target cancerous cells.
The discovered DNA repair mechanism has previously not been described in human or mammalian cells. Cancer cells use the mechanism to repair DNA damage resulting from uncontrolled DNA replication forced by activated oncogenes.
The genes that participate in the DNA repair mechanism were discovered by Juha Rantala, Senior Scientist at VTT, and Thanos Halazonetis, Coordinator of the EU-funded GENICA (Genomic instability in cancer and pre-cancer) project, with the cell microchip screening method developed by Rantala in 2010. Based on gene silencing, the method allows a single microchip to screen the functions of tens of thousands of genes simultaneously.
The research was part of the EU’s GENICA project aimed at discovering why the DNA damage sustained by cancer cells in the early stages of the disease fails to result in the programmed cell death associated with normal cells.
source : http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131211093836.htm