A researcher at University of Leicester has made some significant advancement on the causes of cancer, which can lead to improved and effective therapies.
Professor Andrew Fry, of the Department of Biochemistry aims to understand the molecular control of cell division and as a result identify proteins, which can be targeted in specific tumors, leaving other cells unharmed.
Many current cancer treatments act by killing all dividing cells and are not necessarily specific for the cancer cells, hence the severe side effects.
While studying how cancer cells divide and spread in the body, Fry has got significant insights on the causes of many human diseases, including cancer, and has identified a number of new targets for cancer treatment.
"An adult human being contains millions of cells that all arise following the fertilization of an egg cell by a sperm cell," said Fry.
"Human development therefore requires cells to divide again and again to create the tissues and organs of our body.
"Cell division is a complex mechanical process that not only leads to the production of new cells but ensures that each one maintains the right genetic content required to sustain life.
"Loss of control over cell proliferation and the development of genetic and chromosomal abnormalities are classic hallmarks of cancer," Fry added.
He studied a family of proteins that play a role in cell division and cilia organization, which makes them attractive targets for the development of new anti-cancer drugs.
Fry looked at a particular structure that lies at the heart of each and every cell, called the centrosome (standing for "central body"), and how centrosome defects contribute to cancer progression.