It may be strange to think that one dangerous illness could actually be used to overcome another life-threatening condition. But that’s exactly what scientists are doing. In fact, research is finding that the same toxic super molecule, which is found in the fatal Huntington’s disease, can actually be used to kill cancer cells.
Huntington’s disease is an incurable, devastating illness. It occurs when a RNA sequence in the Huntington gene is repeated too many times. This repeated sequence can kill brain cells, and eventually leads to an irreversible decline in both mental and physical health.
Even though this defect causes devastating effects, it’s ruthlessness might work in it’s favor when it comes to cancer. You see, scientists observed that individuals with Huntington’s disease were 80 percent less likely to have cancer, compared to the general population.
And this may be because the same taxol molecule characteristic of Huntington’s disease destroys cancer cells, too. According to study author, Marcus Peter, “This molecule is a super assassin against all tumor cells. We’ve never seen anything this powerful.”
In their study, researchers administered the toxic molecule, which they’ve dubbed the “kill switch”, to mice with human ovarian cancer. The molecule decreased the size of the tumor without having any toxic effects on the rodents.
While this molecule is successful in animal studies, scientists are now looking to develop a form of treatment that includes this super assassin molecule to kill cancer cells in humans without harming them with the toxic Huntington’s disease RNA sequence.
Scientists are also aiming to improve how the molecule targets cancer tumor cells for more effective, short-term cancer treatment.