Cancer treatment could soon focus on stopping a secondary cellular process that allows cancer cells to survive.
Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine and Harvard School found that if they inhibited a biological process known as SUMOylation then the tumour cells hyperactivity would kill it.
The team explained that the Myc gene can mutate, causing the metabolism in a cell to change and it is thought that the gene is responsible for up to 40 per cent of all cancer cases.
For years, research has focused on controlling the gene, but it proved difficult as SUMOylation kept the tumour alive, stated the researchers.
"It will be exciting if this approach can be developed into a way to treat people whose cancers are driven by hyperactive Myc genes," said Victoria Cowling, a Cancer Research UK scientist.
She believes that if developed, this treatment could be extremely potent.
According to Cancer Research UK, Myc is a gene which is fundamental to mitosis and when it is damaged cells constantly divide.