Applications of Research
Currently, there are several available treatments for cancer, but no definite cure. However, most existing treatments are very harmful to the body. Chemotherapy, for example, involves bombarding the body with harmful chemicals that may cause the patient to experience physical symptoms such as vomiting, fatigue, and numerous bodily infections. Additionally, radiation may cause hair loss and damage to the healthy cells in an individual's body. Because it is often difficult to treat just the cancerous cells, current cancer treatments often attack the entire body. This type of treatment, that is applied to the entire body, weakens the patient, often making him or her susceptible to other infections and ailments.
Could treatments that target the cell cycle in cancer cells be less destructive?
The thinking with both research in the Marzluff lab, as well as other endeavors that involve manipulating proteins of the cell cycle is to pioneer new cancer therapies and treatments that are not body-comprehensive. In other words, treatments that target just the cell cycle of cancer cells could limit any negative side effects from impacting every bodily system.
Through scientific collaboration, new knowledge, methods, and therapies have the potential to emerge. And, in the case of cancer treatments, if we can translate the findings in the laboratory to the cells of a cancer patient, there is the potential to make treatments less physically demanding.
By building a foundation of knowledge through more general research, scientists can compile their findings and apply them to more specific disease scenarios. Without research of general topics like the cell cycle and its involved proteins, and without innovative technologies like molecular cloning, further disease research would not be possible.