Susan Bates and Christina Annunziata looked at several recent papers on this form of treatment, which takes advantage of the synthetic lethality of BRCA (breast cancer susceptibility genes) and poly-ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) proteins to attack cancerous cells whilst sparing healthy ones. BRCA and PARP are two key players in DNA repair and have different but complementary functions in the cell. Loss of the BRCA protein still allows the cell to survive but greatly increases its chances of becoming cancerous through the accumulation of mutations. The loss of both proteins, however, kills the cell in a process called synthetic lethality.
Research Brings Hope»