Experts Believe That Timing Is Necessary to Determine How Responsive Cancer Cells Are to Treatment


It has been discovered that curing cancer can be more effective if the appropriate timing is considered when treating the cells responsible for it. Cancer occurs when damaged cells continue to divide and replicate instead of waiting to be repaired before continuing.

According to a new discovery in the book titled “Cell Systems,” a damaged cell can respond more positively to treatment depending on the time the damage happened. The discoveries in the book may be beneficial in discovering the best times to employ radiation and chemotherapy in destroying cancer cells.

Sherry Chao, an author of the book and a renowned graduate research assistant in the UNC School of Medicine puts it this way: “It is very interesting to look at the timing of cell damage because depending on when it occurs within a certain cell cycle, there can be a totally different outcome.”

It appears this finding will make cancer cure more effective. Jeremy Purvis, a PhD holder in UNC Lineberger supported this in his speech: “If we can identify specific times when cancer cells will be more responsive to treatment, that’s a fundamentally different approach than separating cells based on, say, a molecule you can detect on its surface.”

In the study, the scientists made use of time-lapse microscopy to know how cells behaved at some checkpoints. They were monitored closely after their DNA damage and it was discovered that depending on the time of the damage, the DNA cells responded quite differently. While some cells prevented further treatment, others responded slowly but steadily.


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