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  1. 70 Posts.
    For those who follow ACU you should know what the article (thx to oze) means :) Also, don't forget that the clinical trials starts in october.

    Australian researchers make cancer breakthrough

    Source: MELBOURNE, Sept 19 AAP

    Published: Friday September 19 2003, 1:45 PM

    Australian researchers may have found what makes cancer treatments work or fail, discovering that two proteins are critical for success.

    The research, which has so far only been conducted on genetically engineered mice, shows the proteins Puma and Noxa must be present in the body to enable chemo or radio therapy or drugs to kill cancer cells.

    Team leader Dr Andreas Strasser from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne said earlier studies had shown a protein called p53 was responsible for killing cells.

    But scientists were mystified as to how the process worked.
    The Melbourne team now believed cancer treatments were successful when p53 activated the proteins Puma or Noxa.

    "We decided to test Puma and Noxa, we thought they might be the critical killer proteins ... that generate cell suicide," Dr Andreas said.

    "The drugs depend on p53 to activate Noxa and Puma or both.

    "The basic research clearly identified two killer proteins as being the ones that do the job of killing (cancer) cells after treatment with chemotherapeutic drugs or radiation."

    The catch is that only half of all human cancers have been found to have p53.

    "That is a major reason why therapies vary in effectiveness between different types of cancer," Dr Andreas said.

    He said the work seemed to indicate that people who responded badly to cancer treatments had a deficiency in p53 or an inability to activate Puma or Noxa proteins.

    The next step is to test mice which are missing one or the other of the proteins to see whether they have an abnormal predisposition to developing cancer.

    Dr Strasser said the work was the "hottest area of medical research" at the moment and the Australian team had beaten researchers in Europe, the United States and Japan to the punch.

    The research was published yesterday in the prestigious journal Science.

    By Heather Gallagher
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