Blocking DNA Repair Protein Could Boost Radiation’s Effectiveness, Reduce Side Effects, Study Finds

Blocking DNA Repair Protein Could Boost Radiation’s Effectiveness, Reduce Side Effects, Study Finds
Blocking a protein that promotes DNA repair could increase the effectiveness of radiation therapy and reduce side effects in prostate cancer patients, a recent study reports. The study by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin, “Stat5a/b Blockade Sensitizes Prostate Cancer to Radiation through Inhibition of RAD51 and DNA Repair,” was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research. Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the the most common cancer in American men. According to the American Cancer Society, about one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. In the U.S., 165,000 new cases and 29,000 deaths from the disease are estimated for 2018. Radiation therapy is the standard treatment for locally advanced prostate cancer and one of the main options for organ-confined disease. The therapy may induce debilitating side effects due to unintended targeting of neighboring organs, such as the bowel or the rectum. New approaches with increased selectivity for prostate cancer subsequently would allow the use of lower radiation doses while limiting side effects. In their effort to provide more personalized treatments through adaptive radiation therapy, the scientists conducted experiments in patient-derived cells and in mice transplanted with prostate cancer tumors. They found that production of the protein Stat5 mediated the expression of genes
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José is a science news writer with a PhD in Neuroscience from Universidade of Porto, in Portugal. He has also studied Biochemistry at Universidade do Porto and was a postdoctoral associate at Weill Cornell Medicine, in New York, and at The University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. His work has ranged from the association of central cardiovascular and pain control to the neurobiological basis of hypertension, and the molecular pathways driving Alzheimer’s disease.

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