Saturday, November 25, 2006

Cancer Breakthrough

According to MercuryNews, Oakland Researcher, Dr. Julie Saba (aka. Queen of the Lyase) has been working for about ten years of studying an enzim called sphingosine phosphate lyase (SPL), which can regulate cell growth. Taken from MercuryNews:
SPL naturally decreases cancer cell growth but is de-activated when cancerous cells are present, thus allowing cancer to thrive. `The cancer cells are very smart,` said Saba, noting that `cancer cells stop anything` in the way of their progression.

Using cells in a tissue culture Saba said she and her team `have been able to turn-on the enzyme after cancer cell growth had occurred.` The Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute found that re-introducing the enzyme made chemotherapy more effective in tissue cultures.

`Although we're beginning our studies in colon cancer, we believe our research findings will have a direct impact on investigations for other cancers, including pediatric cancers,` said Saba.

`When we find genes that have a role in regulating cell growth, we automatically suspect that they might be involved in cancer and now it's very clear,` Saba said, commenting on the results of her year-long study.

Saba said the next step in her study will be to determine how many types of cancer are impacted by the enzyme, and to measure the enzyme's activity throughout cancer progression.

Saba said she also wanted to `find out if there is a way to deliver the enzymes to cancer cells.`

`When you are an oncologist you are always thinking what are the possible ways we can use this to help a cancer patient and those are the possible ways,` Saba said.

A similar study focusing on a different enzyme has been conducted in Texas with results that Saba said mirror her own, however according to Saba, `one of the things that is exciting is that this is the first time this enzyme has been linked to any disease.`

Saba said she will continue her research once she receives approval from a drug company whose product she plans to use.

Though many people fear cancer, Saba, `Queen of the Lyase,` may yet protect us all; `Don't worry, don't get overwhelmed,` she said, `there are lots of us working on it, and sooner or later we will have it figured out.`

`It is premature to suggest that SPL is the answer to curing cancer, but our research findings should dramatically advance our search for a cure,` said Saba.

I'm hoping that this research will have a good breakthrough on Cancer diagnose in the future so that Cancer is no longer being considered as a big threat to human life.