Israeli scientists have identified a substance that can kill cancerous cells without harming healthy ones, paving the way for more effective cancer treatment, the journal Breast Cancer Research reported. 'We actually found the Achilles heel of the cancer cell,' said Prof. Malka Cohen‑Armon from Tel Aviv University, who headed the research team. 'As soon as you can target cancerous cells without killing healthy ones, you can produce medications that would cause a lot less suffering to the patient. We can even give a much more aggressive treatment without worrying about harming healthy tissues.'
The substance, which delays cell proliferation in healthy and cancerous cells, is a component of a drug developed a decade ago to preserve nerve cells and prevent them from dying after a stroke. While the drug causes the rapid death of cancer cells, healthy cells activate a mechanism that overcomes the delay in proliferation within hours, and those cells continue to proliferate exactly like cells not exposed to the substance. 'We don't even fully understand why this is happening, but we see cancerous cells die and healthy cells overcome this obstacle,' said Cohen‑Armon