Lab-Created Mice Resist Cancer

Enhanced activity of a certain gene produces selective cancer cell elimination
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2007 6:39 PM CST
A man undergoes acute radiation therapy for cancer in his jaw. Dr. Rangnekar's team hope to develop a human therapy out of their mice discovery to make side-effect-heavy treatments like this a thing of...   (getty images)
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(Newser) – A mouse seemingly invulnerable to cancerous tumors has been engineered, Science Daily reports. Researchers at the University of Kentucky introduced a more active version of the Par-4 gene—which appears able to differentiate cancer cells from healthy ones, then kills them—into mouse embryos. They found that the enhanced mice never developed cancers and passed the gene on to their offspring.

“This killer gene is selective for killing cancer cells. It will not kill normal cells … there are very few selective molecules out there like this,” researcher Vivek Rangnekar said. Rangnekar said “excruciating” side effects of traditional anti-cancer therapies pushed scientists to look for a “holistic approach that would get rid of the tumor, but not harm the organism as a whole.”