Ludwig Cancer Research scientists finds normal cells have highly selective mechanisms. But they found that some types of cancer cells aren't so selective. These cells incorporate chemically modified nucleosides into their DNA, which is toxic to them. The findings indicate that it might be possible to use modified nucleotides for specific killing of cancer cells. The study is published in the journal Nature.
Lead author Skirmantas Kriaucionis said that they sought to find out what happens to these modified bases when DNA is recycled, and were excited that their biochemical analysis uncovered "loopholes," which could hopefully be exploited for intervention in cancer.
Exploiting the unexpected killing of cancer cells by epigenetically modified nucleotides demonstrated in a model system that modified nucleotides can be used as a specific anti-cancer agent.