Making Cancer Cells Grow Up Before They Can Grow Out

Instead of maturing as ordinary cells do, cancer cells run amok, continuing to divide out of control to form tumors. Most therapies try to kill the cells outright. But a different--and promising--approach is to tamper with the cells' machinery so they'll stop dividing. Fourteen years ago, scientists developed a drug called HMBA that has this effect. The drug activates an enzyme, called protein kinase C, that causes rapidly dividing cells to mature. But at the doses needed, HMBA causes blood to lose its clotting properties and produces other unacceptable side effects.

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