Case Western Reserve University doctors stumbled on possible new way to fight cancer

CLEVELAND - Since it first opened its doors in 1834, the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has been on the cutting edge of research, and 169 years later, it still leads the way.

Dr. Youwei Zhang with department of pharmacology was doing routine experiments and at one point identified an interesting discovery.

"Usual cancer treatment involves chemotherapy, our research opens up the door for a new direction which does not involve chemotherapy," Zhang said.

Chemotherapy attacks cancer cells and healthy cells. The side effects are devastating and leave the patient very ill. When Dr. Zhang was researching the effects of chemotherapy and how to lessen the damage of chemotherapy, he stumbled on a protein that might eradicate the cancer cells and not metastasize.

The long-term goal is to try to devise a drug that could be a pill or an injection and activate this protein from an inactive state. This alone should be able to block a cancer cell without the use of chemotherapy.

Dr. Zhang's research was published on Wednesday in the medical journal Cancer Research.

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