Cancer-resistant mice point to potential new therapy

Researchers have created a new breed of mice that are resistant to the most aggressive forms of cancer. Working with the discovery by UK College of Medicine professor of radiation medicine Vivek Rangnekar and a team of researchers who found a tumor-suppressor gene called "Par-4" in the prostate, a team at the University of Kentucky found that the Par-4 gene kills cancer cells, but not normal cells. The Par-4 gene was then introduced into the egg of a mouse, creating generations of mice resistant to cancer. These scientists believe the Par-4 molecule could potentially be used to fight cancer cells in patients without the toxic and damaging side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

"We originally discovered Par-4 in the prostate, but it's not limited to the prostate. The gene is expressed in every cell type that we've looked at and it induces the death of a broad range of cancer cells, including of course, cancer cells in the prostate," said Rangnekar. "The interesting part of this study is that this killer gene is selective for killing cancer cells. It will not kill normal cells and there are very, very few selective molecules out there like this."

- check out the release on the cancer study