London, Nov 28 (UNI) A supermouse resistant to cancer, bred by genetic scientists, can lead to a breakthrough in cancer treatment in humans free of side-effects.
Scientists hope the protein produced by the creature may be adapted for use in humans - saving them the pain, nausea and hair loss usually associated with cancer treatments.
The breakthrough hinges on a mouse gene called Par-4, which produces the protein that attacks tumour cells, but does not harm healthy tissue in the body.
A group of mice have been genetically engineered to have higher levels of the protein than normal.
These creatures were immune to many forms of the disease, such as cancer of the liver and prostate, the journal Cancer Research reports.
Tests suggest the protein could also beat off breast, pancreatic and head and neck cancers.
Kentucky University researcher Vivek Rangnekar said a cancer patient had to undergo chemotherapy or radiation and there were potential side effects associated with those treatments.
''We got interested in looking for a molecule which will kill cancer cells and not normal cells, but also would not be toxic with regard to the entire organism.'' It would be a holistic approach that would not only get rid of the tumour, but also not harm the organism as a whole.
In time, which may take more than ten years from now, it may be possible to adapt the method to treat people, with the gene, being introduced into the body through bone marrow transplants.