The new approach, developed by researchers at Zurich University, allows us to understand the effectiveness of anticancer drugs and protective mechanisms of cancer cells. The method makes it possible to quickly test various drugs and combinations of treatments at the cellular level.
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Cancer cells - are cells on which the human body out of control, and that damage healthy cells. That is why it is important to know the specific weaknesses of cancer cells. For example, in certain types of breast and ovarian cancer, such weakness is caused by mutations in genes that play a role in DNA repair. Treatment of tumor cells of this type makes it difficult to replicate its DNA, and eventually they die.
Influence of drugs, observed in thousands of cells.
Researchers at the University of Zurich used a culture of cancer cells for the study of the precise effects of the new drug group. "Our method vysokoprohodnoy fluorescence-based microscopy allows you to watch when and how the drug works," - explains the researcher Joan Michel. Her measurements showed as PARP inhibitors block its target protein in an inactive state in the cell's DNA and how it complicates DNA replication, which in turn leads to DNA damage. If the damage can not be restored, the cell can no longer replicate and eventually die.
The new approach allows researchers to analyze with high precision the initial response of cancer cells to PARP inhibitors. A feature of the procedure is very sensitive large number of individual cells that can be analyzed simultaneously with automated microscopes in the Center microscopy and image analysis at the University. Cancer cells are changed and thus react differently to the drug, depending on the mutation and cell cycle phase in which they are located. Researchers have now found a way to make these differences visible and to pinpoint them.
Fast and precise testing of cancer cells.
Outside the laboratory the effectiveness of PARP inhibitors and other oncology drugs is complicated by the fact that the cancer recurs in some patients: after a certain point the cancer cells become resistant and no longer respond to medication. high-throughput method used by the researchers, is particularly useful for this kind of problem. Method shows that it is necessary to ensure that a certain drug has started to operate. In addition, mechanisms combinations of drugs can be analyzed in more detail.