Cancer-killing pill could be available soon

Scientists close to developing cancer-killing pill that exploits flaw in disease's DNA

British scientists claim they are just ten years away from developing the world’s first cancer-killing pill after discovering a flaw in the disease’s DNA.

Experts have found a mutation in some cancer cells that mean the disease cannot repair its own damaged genetic structure. Scientists believe this so-called ‘Achilles heel’ can be exploited using gene therapy drugs in the form of pills or injections to attack the cancer’s DNA.

The findings, led by Professor Ghulam Mufti, a leukaemia specialist at Kings College London, are being hailed as a breakthrough that could mean the end of painful chemotherapy treatments.

Prof Mufti said researchers were edging closer to finding a cure for cancerby studying the DNA of tumours. The technique was made possible ten years ago when scientists first mapped all three billion ‘letters’ that comprise the complete human genetic sequence.

He said: ‘One thing is for sure. Since the completion of the Human Genome Project in 1999, the advances have been absolutely phenomenal. Therefore, I’m pretty sure that over a period of time, say over the next decade, we will be able to identify the right treatment regime for a particular patient.’

Professor Alan Ashworth, working on the drug tests at London’s Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre, said: ‘All the mutant cells are killed but the normal cells are not really touched. Potentially, that translates into much more powerful treatments but fewer side-effects.’

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