Silent DNA architecture helps block cancer cell growth

Cancerous and precancerous cells can detect that they are abnormal and kill themselves, or remain alive indefinitely but cease proliferating, through two intrinsic processes called programmed cell death and cellular senescence. One goal of cancer chemotherapy is to help stimulate these potent antitumor processes. Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island have recently shown that by locking cancer cells into a permanent state in which they remain alive but can no longer proliferate, cellular senescence contributes to successful outcomes following cancer therapy. Now, the same group has uncovered a precise molecular mechanism that helps trigger the “stop growing” response of cells. The study is published in the June 13 issue of the journal Cell.

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