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Sunday, January 24, 2016


Remember the Thalidomide scare in the late 50's early 60's? Well the story is not quite done yet, as the drug has resurfaced as a treatment for cancer patients and it is proving to be a very effective way of targeting cancer cells.
"A big reason why thalidomide works in cancer is because of its interaction with cereblon, a protein coded in the human genome. In the cells of complex organisms like humans, replication is vital, and happens on a constant basis. In the case of cancer, though, replication becomes a problem: cells mutate, grow out of control, and quickly form new, terrible cells. These cells behave oddly, and are desperately dependent on specific proteins that exist within them to live.
Normally, using specialized proteins, cereblon wanders around and flags unwanted material in your average, non-cancerous cell. Once flagged, material enters a sort of cellular garbage disposal system, and degrades. But when cereblon binds to thalidomide, which happens readily, it does something unexpected and amazing: it flags and destroys the exact proteins that cancer cells need to survive."

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