A molecular "decoy" that mimics DNA damage and triggers cancer cells to kill themselves could help treat tumors that are resistant to conventional therapy, say French researchers.
They developed tiny fragments of DNA that mimic the two broken ends of the double-helix genetic code. These "Dbaits" fool cancer cells that have survived chemotherapy or radiation into believing they're more damaged than they actually are, prompting them to self-destruct, Agence France Presse reported.
When Dbaits were injected into mice a few hours before they received radiotherapy, 75 percent to 100 percent of cancer cells in the rodents were destroyed, compared with 30 percent to 50 percent using radiotherapy alone. There was no damage to healthy tissue when Dbaits were used.
The study appears in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.
If further tests are successful, clinical trials on humans could begin by the end of 2010, said Marie Dutreix of the Curie Institute in Paris, AFP reported.