A new study has revealed that the effect of radiation therapy to treat cancer differs from one individual to another.
Vivian Cheung from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia along with his colleagues exposed the cells of 99 healthy individuals to a session of radiation, which starts a cellular response akin to that taking place during cancer therapy.
An "executioner" enzyme - caspase, which causes the cells to self-destruct, was seen to have increased between 120 to 720 percent after the dose was given, thereby confirming that different individuals respond to the treatment differently.
After confirming the variation in response, the team also looked at gene expression before and after the exposure, and concluded that silencing five genes whose expression negatively correlated with capase activity, significantly increased cancer cells' sensitivity to radiation.
"Augmenting the sensitivity of cancer cells so that a lower dose of radiation can be given," New Scientist quoted Cheung as saying.