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Italian researcher discovers new method to fight cancer cells

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Italian Pier Paolo Pandolfi, a researcher at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center -- a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate -- has discovered a new method to combat cancer.

Photo courtesy of Pier Paolo Pandolfi, MD, PhD.

Rather than poisoning tumor cells with toxic substances that sometimes have collateral effects, he successfully interrupted their continued replication by making them age and die. He accomplished this, effectively activating the cellular aging process, by shutting down a specific gene.

The discovery, published in the journal Nature, could also bring about the development of a universally effective drug against many if not all tumors. His work has already led to breakthroughs in understanding the genetics behind leukemias, lymphomas and solid tumors.