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NCI Cancer Center News

Study identifies key protein for cell death

  • Posted: May 15, 2013

When cells suffer too much DNA damage, they are usually forced to undergo programmed cell death, or apoptosis. However, cancer cells often ignore these signals, flourishing even after chemotherapy drugs have ravaged their DNA. A new finding from MIT’s Center for Environmental Health Sciences and Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research may offer a way to overcome that resistance: The team has identified a key protein involved in an alternative death pathway known as programmed necrosis. Drugs that mimic the effects of this protein could push cancer cells that are resistant to apoptosis into necrosis instead.

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NCI cancer centers logoAmong the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 67 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.