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Cure for Cancer May Live in Our Intestines (Science Daily)
Treating a cancerous tumor is like watering a houseplant with a fire hose — too much water kills the plant, just as too much chemotherapy and radiation kills the patient before it kills the tumor.
However, if the patient’s gastrointestinal tract remains healthy and functioning, the patient’s chances of survival increase exponentially, said Jian-Guo Geng, associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. Recently, Geng’s lab discovered a biological mechanism that preserves the gastrointestinal tracts in mice who were delivered lethal doses of chemotherapy.
The findings, which will appear in the journal Nature, could revolutionize cancer therapy, Geng said.
The discovery of Robo1 protein in the intestinal stem cells (depicted in yellow) leads to tolerance of higher doses of chemoradiation for cancer patients. (Credit: Dr. Wei-Jie Zhou)