JERUSALEM, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- An Israeli-led research discovered a new vulnerability in cancer cells, Tel Aviv University (TAU) in central Israel said on Wednesday.
The study could lead to the development of personalized drugs that will use this trait to eliminate cancer, TAU added.
In the study published in the journal Nature, TAU researchers and their colleagues from the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy, showed how an abnormal number of chromosomes (aneuploidy), a unique characteristic of cancer cells, can become a vulnerability of these cells.
This is the most common genetic change in cancer, and when it appears in cancer cells, they can advance the progression of the disease.
The researchers compared the genetic dependency and drug sensitivity of normal cells and cells with a high level of aneuploidy.
They found that aneuploid cancer cells demonstrate increased sensitivity to inhibition of the cellular checkpoint (the mitotic checkpoint) that ensures the proper separation of chromosomes during cell division.
They also found that when the checkpoint was perturbed in cells with the proper number of chromosomes, cell division stopped, and as a result, the chromosomes separated successfully with few problems created.
However, when this mechanism was perturbed in aneuploid cells, cell division continued, resulting in many chromosomal changes that compromised the cells' ability to divide, and even cause their death.