[MOL] New way of stopping cell division may fight cancer [00033] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] New way of stopping cell division may fight cancer

New way of stopping cell division may fight cancer
    [11/01/99; Reuters News Service]

NEW YORK, Oct 28 (Reuters Health) -- Scientists have 
identified a molecule that interferes with how cells divide.
Since cancerous tumors grow as their cells rapidly divide, the
hope is that the molecule will lead to new anticancer therapies. This
is not the first molecule known to interrupt the cell-division
process, according to the study's lead author, Dr. Thomas U.
Mayer, of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. In
fact, several drugs used in chemotherapy battle cancer by hampering
the ability of tumor cells to reproduce, he said in an interview
with Reuters Health. However, these drugs focus on a particular
protein called tubulin, Mayer explained. Since this protein is
needed by the body for other processes besides cell division,
using drugs that attack it can lead to severe side effects.
But the newly identified molecule, which the researchers call monastrol,
targets another protein, kinesin, which is also involved in cell
division, but at another stage, according to Mayer. The hope
is that treatment with a drug containing monastrol would be able
to fight a tumor without causing as many side effects, since
it does not affect cells other than those that are involved in
cell division, he said.

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