Scientists at the University of York have made significant breakthroughs in the field of cancer research.
Professor Milner and Dr. Ahmed have discovered a gene which kills cancer cells without affecting healthy cells. Although they have been working in cancer research for three years, they admit their latest work was only started by an “unexpected observation.”
The observation, which highlighted “a novel mechanism which appears to govern the survival of cancer cells in a selective manner” led to the discovery that the gene JNK2 can be targeted to kill cancer cells. JNK2 was already a well-known stress response gene.
The major discovery was that JNK2 also plays an important role in the survival of cancer cells and represents a promising target for the selective killing of cancer cells without harming healthy cells.
The work is currently laboratory based, and the scientists acknowledge that for the work to progress to a clinic level “will require input from medicinal chemists and from the pharmaceutical industry.”
According to Milner, the team is “very excited and we feel that we are exploring a new aspect of cancer and identifying genes which govern the survival of human cancer cells under normal conditions of living.
“We believe that our research is opening a new approach to cancer treatment and will carry great benefit to the cancer patient.”