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Nucleoside analogs and ionizing radiation

About microscopic forms of life, including Bacteria, Archea, protozoans, algae and fungi. Topics relating to viruses, viroids and prions also belong here.

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Nucleoside analogs and ionizing radiation

Postby Layd33foxx » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:45 am

Nucleoside analogs and ionizing radiation are used in treating cancer. These mutagens can cause cancer, so why do you suppose they are used to threat the disease?

Is it because it inserts new data to delete a certain part of the DNA?
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Re: Nucleoside analogs and ionizing radiation

Postby Luxorien » Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:03 pm

My understanding of the way radiation therapy works is that they carefully target only the abnormal cells, delivering precise doses of radiation designed not just to disrupt cell division but to destroy the cells completely by trashing their DNA until it is completely nonfunctional. There is a relatively small risk of causing more cancer with the radiation, but it's considered worth it if the first cancer was going to kill the patient anyway.

This site has some info on radiation therapy:

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/fact ... /radiation

I should think the same principle would apply with nucleoside analogs. They apply the treatment only to the tumor cells, selectively stopping them from dividing by disrupting DNA replication only in those cells. But of course the big problem with curing cancer has always been that any treatment for cancer will cause damage to the patient's normal cells as well, which is why so much cancer research is focused on trying to find differences between cancer cells and normal cells that might be exploited to develop more precisely targeted therapies.
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