It works by activating proteins called caspases, leading to cell death. Currently most anti-cancer therapies (chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy) often fail to kill all cancer cells, but now it’s different. It’s a new process that triggers the death of cancer cells. “Especially under conditions of partial therapeutic response, as our experiments mimic, our data suggests that triggering tumor-specific CICD, rather than apoptosis, may be a more effective way to treat cancer,” Dr Stephen Tait, Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, Institute of Cancer Sciences, declared.
The immune system is alerted during CICD treatment and can participate to destroy the cancer cells. The new method may be applicable to a wide-range of cancer types improving the effectiveness of anti-cancer therapy and reducing unwanted toxicity. Scientists need to investigate this idea further and develop ways to trigger this particular route of cell death in humans. The research results, ‘Mitochondrial permeabilization engages NF-kB-dependent anti-tumor activity under caspase deficiency,’ is published in Nature Cell Biology. The research was majority funded by Cancer Research UK. The findings provide novel opportunities for a more rational approach to develop molecular-targeted therapies for combating cancer.