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Leukaemia discovery

Scientists at the University of Cambridge, UK, have developed a new technique to kill cancer cells by targeting an enzyme believed to trigger the disease.

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is an aggressive blood cancer that predominantly affects people over 65 years and can be caused by an abundance of an enzyme (METTL3) that helps convert RNA into proteins.

By transplanting cells from AML patients into mice, the researchers discovered that a drug-like molecule was able to reduce the levels of METTL3, and kill the cancer cells, which prolonged the life of the mice without any toxic side effects.

“This is the beginning of a new era for cancer therapeutics” said lead researcher Professor Tony Kouzarides.


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