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Gene block boosts radiotherapy treatment

6th April 2010

A team of UK scientists have discovered that blocking the POLQ gene increases the effectiveness of radiotherapy treatment.


The researchers, from the University of Oxford, found that the gene stopped radiotherapy from killing cancer cells. The gene's role in the body is connected with repairing damaged DNA.

The discovery, which happened after the researchers trawled through 200 genes, could be used to improve or create drugs to boost radiotherapy treatments.

Many people with cancer are given radiotherapy and estimates show that use of the treatment contributes to 40% of cancer cases where the disease is eradicated.

The team said that tumours responded to radiotherapy in different ways but they did not know the reason why this happened.

The researchers focused on genes which repaired DNA damage and singled out the POLQ gene. They carried out experiments which showed that if the gene was blocked then cancer cells were more susceptible to the effects of radiotherapy.

Study leader Dr Geoff Higgins, a Cancer Research UK scientist at the Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology, said: "We've sieved through a vast pool of promising genetic information and identified a gene that could potentially be targeted by drugs to improve the effectiveness of radiotherapy."

"Blocking the activity of this gene resulted in a greater number of tumour cells dying after radiotherapy and provides new avenues for research." 


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Wednesday 7th April 2010 @ 14:31

What drug do you use to block POLQ and how long is it necessary to administer it before radiotherapy and is it taken during treatment?

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Article Information

Title: Gene block boosts radiotherapy treatment
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 14559
Date Added: 6th Apr 2010


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