Researchers have identified genes which seem to control the impact of chemotherapy on cancer cells.
The study, published in Nature and conducted by researchers from the University of Texas, found that blocking the function of certain genes appeared to enhance the impact of chemotherapy, potentially paving the way for the administration of lower chemotherapy doses in patients receiving cancer treatment.
Professor Michael White, senior author of the report, suggested that blocking drugs could be used alongside chemotherapy to enhance the effect of the treatment.
"Chemotherapy is a very blunt instrument," he explained. "It makes people sick, and its effects are very inconsistent.
"Identifying genes that make chemotherapy drugs more potent at lower doses is a first step toward alleviating these effects in patients."
However, the professor warned that the study had only been performed on isolated human cancer cells, meaning that further research will be needed to determine whether or not more effective cancer treatment will be possible.
Independent advice on private healthcare