(Nov. 3, 2016) Senescence is the state when normal, healthy cells no longer have the ability to divide, which can occur during chemotherapy or when cancer genes within that cell are activated. Senescence can be very useful, for example, when one wants to stop cancer cells from rapidly dividing, but there can be negative side effects. The same progress that stops the division of cells is also responsible for increasing secreted factors that could promote tumor growth.
Researchers at The Wistar Institute, including lead author and OCRFA grantee Rugang Zhang, PhD, have found that there may be ways of promoting the positive effects of senescence while suppressing its negative effects. Understanding senescence is critical for learning how tumor growth can be successfully suppressed, so that chemotherapies can be more effective. The findings were published online by the Journal of Cell Biology.