Turkish Nobel laureate develops new method for cancer treatment

Turkish Nobel laureate develops new method for cancer treatment

Turkish Nobel laureate develops new method for cancer treatment

Türkiye’s Nobel laureate in chemistry, Aziz Sancar, has conducted a study on a new method in the treatment of brain tumors that can be applied without damaging nerve cells.

“We carried out research on the fact that the EdU molecule activates the repair mechanism in intact DNA as if it was damaged,” Sancar told daily Cumhuriyet.

Stating that the brain tumor cell, glioblastoma, could not cope with EdU, Sancar said, “It was known that the EdU molecule had a moderately toxic effect but the mechanism of this was a mystery. Now we have figured out how it kills the cell for sure.”

The research, which emerged as an important light of hope in the treatment of brain tumor, is expected to be published in the next issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a U.S.-based multidisciplinary scientific journal.

The reason why people with a brain tumor lose their lives in a short time is that the chemotherapy drugs currently used cannot pass through the “blood-brain barrier” in the brain. With Sancar’s new study, it is expected that brain tumors can be killed without damaging neurons by using the EdU molecule.

While glioblastoma is one of the most aggressive tumors, the average lifespan for a person with this tumor is 15 months during treatment. Only five percent of patients who develop a glioblastoma tumor survive for five years.

While it was seen in about one in 100,000 people before, this rate has increased to 3.25 per 100,000 in recent years. The aging of the population, air pollution and exposure to heavy metals have been the factors in this regard.

Sancar, who works at the University of North Carolina, was among three scientists awarded the 2015 Nobel Chemistry Prize for their work on DNA repair. Sancar won the prize along with Tomas Lindahl and Paul Modrich for their work in mapping the cells which repair ultraviolet damage to DNA. Their research was an important step toward treating cancer.