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Scientists Have Found 600 New Cancer Vulnerabilities, Each Could Be the Target of a Drug

An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: Scientists have taken cancer apart piece-by-piece to reveal its weaknesses, and come up with new ideas for treatment. A team at the Wellcome Sanger Institute disabled every genetic instruction, one at a time, inside 30 types of cancer. It has thrown up 600 new cancer vulnerabilities and each could be the target of a drug. Cancer Research UK praised the sheer scale of the study.

The researchers disrupted nearly 20,000 genes in more than 300 lab-grown tumors made from 30 different types of cancer. The results, published in the journal Nature, revealed 6,000 crucial genes which at least one type of cancer needs to survive. Some were unsuitable for developing cancer drugs, as they are also essential in healthy cells. Others are already the target of precision drugs like Herceptin in breast cancer — the team called this a “sanity check” that proves their method works. And yet more are beyond current science to develop suitable drugs, so the researchers narrowed down a shortlist of 600 potential new targets for drugs to attack.


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